The NASCAR schedule could be changed as early as for next year, cutting short the number of races to ease the demands on drivers.
The current 38-race season gives drivers just two weeks off, and an increasing number of drives are advocating for a less intense schedule.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France said earlier this month that the 2015 schedule could be different.
“There will be a robust discussion that will be for those reasons a more comprehensive look at what the best schedule will look like,” he said, referring to a revamped format to the Chase for the Spring Cup championship next season, as well as NBC taking over the second half of the TV schedule next year.
Bad weather at several tracks this season caused delays, another reason for considering tweaks.
“There’s been some weather issues, as you well know, in the last several years at Bristol as an example, and then some other things that we would naturally look at as we go along in the schedule, and now that the Chase format is changed, there’s additional interest to move from one place to another,” he said.
In a recent press release, Jimmie Johnson said that there should be six or seven more weeks off in the schedule, perhaps taking down the number of races to about 25.
“Even if we were winning and didn’t want it to stop from that momentum stand point, I can’t wait to chill out with family and relax,” he said.
Darrell Waltrip is among others who have also called for a shorter schedule.
“I don’t know if you all realize this or not, but once we leave Daytona in February after the 500, our sport — the teams, the transporters, etc., pass Texas Motor Speedway something like five times before we ever go there. We go by on the way to Phoenix, on the way to Las Vegas, then clear back to Bristol only to turn right around and go once again clear back across country to Fontana,” he wrote in a Fox Sports article.
“If that’s not enough to make your head spin, we leave Fontana, go right back across the country to go to Martinsville before finally heading to Texas Motor Speedway.”
The current two weekends off are this weekend and Easter weekend.
Sporting News says that with NASCAR often not getting as much interest as other sports, there needs to be a fix.
“The biggest challenges facing the sport today are how to quell declining attendance and how to boost stagnant TV ratings. The answer might be much simpler than better races, bigger personalities and a younger audience. The easy fix might be fewer races. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand.
“Fewer races, strategically spread out over a shorter season, will make fans hungrier for racing action. That should lead to greater demand for tickets and more anticipation for the televised events. It also could lead to better racing and more exciting shows because the drivers and teams would be fresher and more anxious to race instead of worn-out and lagging from the grind of the current week-to-week schedule — one rife with rain delays and too much travel.”