NASCAR fans have looked forward to the 2021 NASCAR Schedule for years now. The 5-year deal NASCAR signed with tracks is up at the end of 2020 meaning FINALLY we could see new tracks added, boring tracks dropped, and the schedule shuffled around.
Boy were we naive.
When the talk first started about the 2021 schedule it seemed like finally NASCAR was going to take a risk and mix things up. The Cup Series schedule has roughly been the same schedule since 2001, the only new track to be added was Kentucky Speedway. Other than that the schedule is made up of the same tracks, that are all roughly around the same date give or a take a few.
As this process as dragged on the likelihood of a seeing wholseale changes started to sound less and less likely. NASCAR President Steve Phelps said last year that they were looking at things but he didn’t sound very optimistic. This week he gave an update on the 2021 schedule and we’ll be honest, it sucks. Take a look at what he said.
“We don’t have the schedule dialed in for 2021,” Phelps said. “Lots of discussions about where we would race. I think if you would look at the 2020 schedule, we moved things around and I think the fans, again from the research that we did, by and large, were thrilled with the changes we made.
Translation: see the 2020 schedule? Yeah, that’s the 2021 schedule too. Pocono, Michigan, Kentucky, Kansas, all still there. Also, who is thrilled about a Phoenix finale other than the people at Phoenix?
“I think there was an industry buzz. The drivers were excited, the teams were excited and most importantly, the fans were excited, but we’re racing at the same race tracks, the same number at each race track. So in 2021, we have new sanctions that we need to do for 2021 that will obviously dictate where we go.
NASCAR fans are so accustomed to the sport doing whatever the sport wants that a date change excites the base. HOMESTEAD IN MARCH?! HOLY SHIT THIS IS GOING TO BE AMAZING. DAYTONA BEFORE THE PLAYOFFS? HOLD MY HAND. Makes no sense.
“Will we go to exactly the same number of race tracks, the exact same number of events? We probably won’t. I don’t think there are going to be massive wholesale changes.
And there it is. Not massive changes and that’s status quo for NASCAR. Changing things would actually excite the fan base, going to more short tracks, road course, and less 1.5-mile tracks is what we need. Instead it sounds like there will be less races which isn’t a bad thing but that doesn’t necessarily solve the problems.
“With that said, we’re going to continue to listen to what the fans have to say because this is their sport and we need to make sure that we are giving them what they want. So a lot of listening, a lot of dialogue, working with our broadcast partners, working with our teams and our drivers, our OEM partners … hey, where do you want to be, what do you want to see, where would you like to race?
But they don’t listen to what the fans want. The NASCAR Fan Council is curtailed to make fans answer the questions the way NASCAR wants them to. The sport listens to the TV partners and the OEMs, no one else. If they listened to the fans we wouldn’t have front splitters and we’d have completely different race tracks.
Like always, NASCAR appears to be dropping the ball and it is massively disappointing. But, we’re used to it.
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