When NASCAR executives made the 2010 schedule, they surely had no idea that the two best races in the first five events would come before off weeks. That's something that you can't plan on.
But because of the latest off weekend — the traditional Easter break for the Cup series — NASCAR is far from the forefront of most sports' fans minds. For those living in a cave, the National Championship is Monday night, Opening Day is Monday, and the Masters unofficially starts with Tiger's press conference. And for a sport that's seeing crowds dwindle both at the track and in front of television screens, that's far from a good thing. (Sure, the Masters is probably bigger because of Tiger's indiscretions, but still, it's the Masters.)
The Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series aren't strong enough to hold the attention of the casual fan on Easter weekend. Especially not at a half-full at most 25,000 seat track that the Cup Series doesn't race on.
Plain and simple, NASCAR needs to get rid of the first Cup off weekend of the season, or if they really want to be bold, start racing on Easter weekend. Sacrilege, I know, but for years NASCAR didn't race on Mother's Day weekend and now they're racing the Saturday before at Darlington of all places.
However, getting rid of the first off weekend of the season is a much more realistic —and logical — scenario. Since Easter is based off of the lunar calendar, Easter in 2011 is extremely late (April 24th) so baseball will be already three weeks into the season and the Masters will be forgotten by all those who don't read Devil Ball.
The 2011 schedule promises to be radically different, and let's hope that it includes the elimination of an early season off weekend. It hardly feels like the season's started, and we're racing in Phoenix — and using the 2010 owner points — in less than five days.
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