It's no secret NASCAR's in a tough spot, the doldrums of both ratings and attendance. Something's necessary to goose the sport, and Scene Daily's Erik Spanberg offers up an interesting idea: weeknight racing.
Yes, it goes against half a century of win-on-Sunday, sell-on-Monday mentality, but weeknight racing has some merit. During the spring and summer, it could serve to catch the interest of sports-hungry fans crashing on the couch after the workday. During the fall, it could serve to dodge the juggernaut that is football.
But as interesting as the idea may be, weeknight races do have one significant knock against them: They'd absolutely destroy the attendance at almost every track where they ran. So much of a race weekend's ancillary income derives from the money that fans spend over the course of the weekend by camping/staying there and frequenting local establishments. Having races on, say, a Tuesday or Wednesday would annihilate the bottom line, and most tracks wouldn't willingly sign up for that kind of money hit.
Still, it's an idea worth considering. One comparison that holds water is the NHL's Winter Classic, an outdoor hockey event held on New Year's Day. Only 3 years old, it's already become a tradition.
NASCAR doesn't have the luxury of the same kind of captive audience with summertime racing; the series has already, in effect, staked out the three major holidays of Memorial Day, Labor Day and Independence Day. Plus, people are less likely to stay indoors in front of a television during the summer than they are on a blustery, hangover-laden New Year's Day.
(Aside: What about a Christmas Day exhibition race? Maybe offer some coin or some bonus points to get the drivers interested. Yes, the logistics would be horrific, and yes, the offseason is short enough as it is. But hey, desperate times.)
One point to consider: Another sport often associated with the weekend, golf, tried this exact routine from 1999 to 2005 with "Monday Night Golf." And while ratings were strong for the first two events, they tailed off in a hurry, even with marquee names like Tiger Woods in the mix every year. So there's always the chance that this could blow up spectacularly.
Anyway, the idea of weeknight races deserves some further scrutiny. Would you watch? What night would be best? Have at it.