During a drive through North Carolina, this writer’s radio was listening to Tradin’ Paint on SiriusXM Radio Channel 90. That day, in passing, Jim Noble noted that with the 2021 schedule to be the first after the sanctioning agreement would end, that maybe it is time to remove a few races from a few tracks that currently have two races on the Monster Energy NASAR Cup Series schedule. This is not a foreign or new concept. Many people, including this writer, have complained about going to certain tracks twice. However, this is a tough concept to think about in reality. There are many factors that one needs to consider when doing so.
- The racetracks may need two races to survive. Racetracks with two tracks may need more than one race to make a profit on the races they host. The tracks that are independent of Speedway Motorsports and International Speedway Corporation are the ones that especially need it the most. Dover International Raceway and Pocono Raceway are both owned independently (Dover Motorsports and the Mattioli family, respectively). Noble noted on the show that afternoon that Dover’s attendance has been half the numbers it used to. Dover was a big one that Noble suggested they cut and that maybe if one race held the attendance from both races, they would still get a profit. He was more lenient on Pocono especially since the races were reduce to 400 miles. He also noted that the Mattioli family would accept going to one race if good for the sport.
- The fans will have little to no say about the 2021 schedule. The fans have lots of ideas of where we should go. Milwaukee, Road America, Iowa, etc. All of them are ideas that the fans want. However, the hands are in the moneymakers. NASCAR, ISC, SMI, Dover Motorsports and the Mattioli, among others will be the real decision makers. Do not hope that the moneymakers will listen to us in making any decisions. The people there are much smarter than we are. We have seen that with Charlotte.
- Rockingham and North Wilkesboro are not coming back. This has turned into a meme. Everyone calls into SiriusXM when the topic comes up of why Rockingham and North Wilkesboro should be re-added to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The fans love North Wilkesboro and Rockingham…..on television. When Rockingham came back under Andy Hillenburg, the fans came out once, and then not again. That ruined the opportunity. Now Rockingham is still again. North Wilkesboro continues to just rot away in the weeds of Wilkes County. They are not coming back, as much as we all want them. Do not ever get your hopes up.
- Iowa Speedway might actually get a Cup race in 2021. Iowa is the one Noble picks that should get a Cup race. However, they have to do it correctly the first time out. The concept of a Kentucky-esque disaster will hurt Iowa. However, this writer disagrees with Iowa getting a race at all, because it ruins the opportunity for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series. There would go another standalone race that those series need to survive on their own without being treated as “Cup testing ground.”
- We don’t know the amount of tracks interested in the 2021 schedule that are not already on it. Most owners are not public about said discussions. We can throw proposals out of anywhere, but any changes in 2021 will probably be unknown for a long time. It is completely possible there is no one other than Iowa that are interested in change. Would it be depressing? Yes. However, it is part of the sport.
So, when it comes to eliminating tracks from having two races, it seems like the same narrative also arises. More short tracks over more cookie-cutter mile and a half tracks. More road courses. Let us be real, there is not going to be that drastic of a shift. Would it be nice to pull one of the races from Michigan and Kansas? Definitely. Will it happen? Very unlikely.