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Jay Busbee

Are standardized start times fading into the sunset?

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

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Some potentially frustrating news from Pete Pistone over at CBS Sports: NASCAR may be doing away with the standardized 1 p.m./3 p.m./7 p.m. start times due to poor ratings and heavy competition. Start times haven't been released beyond Daytona's 1:19 p.m. ET, but there's a possibility that the decision on times could revert to track operators and networks, which would ensure a total patchwork of times based on individual need rather than greater harmony.

Look, I'm not going to even try to gold-plate this particular trashcan: doing away with standardized start times is an unforgivably stupid move. NASCAR may think it's easy enough for fans to follow where and when the green flag drops, but when you're changing networks four times in a season, you're already losing people in the switchover. Add to that a nonstandardized start time, and come on -- you're going to have people tuning in too early, too late, and eventually, not at all.

I get the reason for changing the start times. You start at 1 p.m. Eastern, you're losing a huge chunk of your West Coast viewership all season, and you'll get killed during NFL season. (Plus, let's not forget the church factor.) So push the start times 90 minutes later for the early races, set the West Coast races to finish leading into prime time, leave the Saturday night races alone.

But no more of this 1:18, 2:43, 3:38, 2:17 start-time nonsense. Pick three times — standard, West Coast races, Saturday night races — and stick with 'em. Let people plan their weekends knowing when the races will start and, roughly, end. It's really not that hard.

Help me out here. What are your thoughts on standardized start times? Big deal, or not so much?

Standardized start times may be gone [CBS Sports]

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