Tha Sports Junkies 101

Improving NASCAR’s Summer Stretch


In NASCAR there is not a time of the year that has the potential to produce great racing more than that of the summer stretch. It is a time of year where there the sun beats down on the race track makes the surface slick and has the cars sliding all over the place. However, in recent years this stretch of the schedule has produced good racing but has not lived up to the potential of what it could be. A lot of what causes this stretch to not live up to its expectation is scheduling and where certain races are on the schedule and some tracks have two races when in all reality there is a better possible option to take that race. The summer stretch is a 12 race stretch from The first week of June until Labor Day Weekend which does have more races that should stay than the likes of ones that should have a date swapped with another track. In this article we will not be adding new tracks to the schedule or making races lose dates, we will just be looking at the tracks that deserve to have a date in the summer stretch and why others need to be moved.

The first tracks that need to be looked at having a date moved out of the summer stretch is Pocono and Michigan which each have two races in the stretch of races. The main reason for this is how close the tracks two dates are. For the type of track Pocono, it does produce great racing but you go to Pocono to start the summer stretch and then not even two months later you are once again back at the track. The races are just too close in dates. The same goes for Michigan the two dates on the schedule are just too bunched together. There are two tracks on the current NASCAR schedule that stick out right away when talking about moving tracks into this stretch of the schedule. These tracks are Atlanta and Auto Club. Both of these tracks produce arguably the best racing you will see all you but Atlanta’s racing, in particular, has suffered since moving to a date earlier in the year. These tracks have the oldest surfaces in the series and with worn surfaces comes great multi-groove racing. Racing these two tracks so early in the year wastes potential for these tracks. Imagine seeing Sprint Cup Cars on a scorching Sunday afternoon slide around on the slick worn out pavement while using every inch from the apron to the wall. This is something that NASCAR desperately needs with so many of its track having gone under replaces in recent years.

The final date that needs to be looked at is Kentucky. In comparison to most other mile and a half tracks in NASCAR, Kentucky produces possibly the most underwhelming racing and does not benefit from the Summer heat as it is run under the lights anyway. The track that needs to be looked at to swap dates with Kentucky is Chicagoland. In recent years as the pavement of the track has progressively worn it has begun producing racing from the bottom of the track up to the wall. It’s racing in recent years is only surpassed by Atlanta and Homestead in terms of multi-groove racing and passing at the 1.5 mile “cookie cutters” that are so prevalent on NASCAR’s schedule. However, this would be a long shot as Chicago currently holds a date in NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup. If reluctant to give up their spot in the chase another track to possibly swap with would be Las Vegas as it is another mile and a half track who’s racing could benefit by having its race take place in the heat of the summer. Giving a track like Las Vegas a date so early in the year does not do a track like it justice like a hot 90 degree summer day could.

In NASCAR the summer stretch has always produced great racing but with it suffering in recent years the above options are certainly intriguing enough to at least give jumbling up the schedule a look.