COMMENTARY | Listen up, NASCAR: It's time to shape up.
Like much of the rest of the country, the No. 1 motorsports brand in America has become overweight and lazy with too many boring, cookie-cutter races and a schedule that is entirely too long.
Year after year NASCAR begins with a bang in February, starts to fizzle around August, and is left gasping for air come November. I have always looked at the Brickyard 400 weekend as the last real shot of life to the series before I begin peeking in during commercial breaks the rest of the year. And even Indy has become a bit of a snooze.
Now don't' get me wrong, there are still good races to be had after Indy -- Richmond, Talladega, Bristol and Watkins Glen, come to mind -- but, for the most part, the series loses much of its steam coming out of the summer months. They say you can never have too much of a good thing, but, in this case, I beg to differ.
The thing that makes other sports, specifically the NFL, so darn appealing is that it isn't around all year. It is a commodity that only comes around for a few months out of the year and then it is gone. That brevity makes fans crave it even more.
For NASCAR fans, it is the exactly the opposite. There is never time to truly "miss" the sport.
It's not that I don't care who wins or appreciate the great battles going on for the championship, it is that, come November, I am ready for a break. Like a clingy girlfriend, sometimes you just need a little space. F1 gets this right with its 20-race schedule and just enough time between races to truly look forward to the next event.
In NASCAR, when the racing ends in November, there is usually a month of true silence before the engines roar back to life. Then it is a month of testing at Daytona leading up to the start of another nine-month marathon season.
The schedule needs to be cut down by at least half a dozen races and some tracks need to lose their two-race status. Once a year at Phoenix, Dover, Pocono, New Hampshire and Texas is fine by me.
The schedule also needs to take on some variety. Another road course or two needs to be added -- with one most definitely a part of the Chase -- and before too long, with the NASCAR truck series experiment such an overwhelming success, the big boys need to return to the dirt.
Imagine a world where NASCAR actually has breaks between races, three or four road courses and a dirt track or two is added to the schedule, and the cookie-cutter races are cut in half. Maybe then by November I won't look forward to the end of the season so much.
That is the NASCAR world I want to live in.
L.A. Crum is a professional writer and journalist from Ohio. He is an avid fan of motorsports and college athletics and has worked with many of the top teams and drivers in the racing industry during his decade long career. He is a proud graduate of Marshall University.
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