Just Sayin’: Charlotte Should Scrap the Fall Night Race in Favor of Day Racing


By Jared Turner

For the second year in a row, the fall Chase race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was run on Sunday during daytime hours after rain forced NASCAR and track officials to postpone the race from its originally scheduled Saturday night start time. Call it pure coincidence, bad timing or something else if you wish, but any time weather results in a race being pushed back a day in consecutive years, it’s never a bad idea to reevaluate the best day and start time for an event to be held. In the case of this year, no one could have predicted, of course, that a hurricane – which ultimately took the form of the vicious Hurricane Matthew – would be making its way up the East Coast and make landfall in North Carolina on the same day a race was scheduled at Charlotte Motor Speedway. At the same time, the fact that this race has now been hampered by weather in back-to-back years can’t be just brushed aside. Neither should it be forgotten that drivers almost universally prefer slick, daytime racing conditions over the cooler, grippier ones that come with night racing. The bottom line: As enticing as a rare Sunday afternoon off might be for everyone in the Sprint Cup Series garage, drivers almost universally agree that Saturday night racing – many moons ago considered a novelty – has lost some of its shine in recent years. As much as Charlotte Motor Speedway loves billing itself as host to the only night race in the Chase, common sense and popular opinion suggest everyone would likely be better off if this race was permanently moved to Sunday afternoon – which, as some history buffs might recall, was actually its spot on the Sprint Cup Series calendar prior to the first fall Charlotte night race in October 2003.