Want more road courses in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series? So do we. But if road courses are added to the Cup Series schedule, don't count on one being dropped into the Chase.
In an interview with Fox Sports 1's RaceHub, NASCAR President Mike Helton said a road course in the Chase was not on NASCAR's "short list right now."
“I won’t sit here and say no but it’s not on the short list right now, but I’ll never say never to something like that," Helton said. "The road courses have evolved on the NASCAR Sprint Cup side and the Nationwide Series and Trucks to be some of our most exciting events. I think we can put our drivers today against any road racer and hold our own very proudly.”
While we understand Helton's job is to promote his employer and we wouldn't expect anything less, we're not sure how NASCAR drivers as a whole stack up against other road racers. There are some standout drivers and in a Cup car, NASCAR drivers have an advantage. But overall in some sort of spec class we'll take F1 drivers and drivers from other series over most NASCAR drivers.
Because of the timing of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup, if a current road course was added to the Chase, it'd likely have to be Sonoma, where the series is this weekend. Upstate New York would be pretty in the fall, but any race at Watkins Glen would need to be very early in the Chase because of weather and temperature concerns.
If a road course race is added to the Chase, it'd make sense if there were additional road course races added to the entire schedule. Right now, the two road course races constitute 1/18th of the schedule, a ratio bigger than a 1/10 ratio of the Chase. If two more road course races were added to constitute 1/9th of the schedule, sliding one into the final 10 races would help make NASCAR's playoffs an accurate representation of the diversity of NASCAR's tracks.
Helton also gave a mid-summer arrival date for the 2015 schedule. It remains to be seen if there will be significant deviations from the standard NASCAR schedule template that has become standard.
“We hope it comes down sooner than later," Helton said. "We’re shooting for mid-summer to get the ’15 schedule out. The ripple effect part of it is hard to explain. With a 36-race schedule in the matter of 40-some weeks, it’s hard to move one and not be impactful to another, several other weekends, quite frankly. We’d start with the ’14 schedule to work on ’15, plug in the traditional holidays and try to be consistent with those major events that’s held those spots for years and then figure out the other conflicts that we may have. But we try to do our best. We work with the race track, the race team and our broadcast partners to come out with what we feel like is a reasonable schedule, if not the best one we can do.”
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