(This blog entry is a direct response to the most recent one about shortening races.)
I don't understand why anyone would vouch for shortening races, especially at the Sprint Cup series level. Isn't the joy of being a NASCAR fan(atic) essentially watching NASCAR? Shouldn't fans be provided with the most action possible? I think several races this year have proven that longer races provide more exciting finishes than their shorter counterparts.
For example, the Daytona 500 is unanimously one of the most popular races of the season, and has had more competition than any other race on the circuit besides the two races at Talladega. Although this year, the race was a bit long, its length was due to the red flags on track to fix the potholes in the track as well as the amount of cautions that came out. According to this website, the race took approximately 3: 47:16 with 9 cautions. The 2008 Daytona 500 was run about a half hour quicker and had two less cautions (3:16:30). Therefore, a Daytona 500 can be run so that it fits a particular time, as long as NASCAR allows for less cautions to be called during the race. This is a double-edged sword, as cautions group up the field and make for an exciting ending. Why wouldn't NASCAR call for a caution in order to make for a better finish? Every time NASCAR does this (even if the caution is legitimate), it lengthens the time in which the races take, and makes fans plead for races to be shortened.
Las Vegas, since being repaved, has had a massive amount of cautions, but the amount of cautions in each race has began decreasing from 11 in 2008 to 7 in 2010. The fewer cautions has decreased the race time by over 15 minutes. The 2010 Shelby American took under 2 hours and 50 minutes. That definitely signals a short race and if Las Vegas wants a race added to the schedule, it should definitely be 500 miles, especially since it provides pretty decent racing.
Now you could argue that the 2010 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta took nearly 4 hours. But that is with two additional green-white-checkered finishes, which add to the time of the race. As a race fan though, why would you oppose to watching a long race? Is it because you have better things to do? Multitasking while watching races isn't too difficult. Is it because you'd rather watch another sport? Then you really aren't the loyal and diehard NASCAR fan you thought you were.
Races should be like marathons, the attrition aspect of the race should be present. The engines should be stressed, the transmissions should be stressed, drive trains, radiators, etc.
Races this year Ranked by Length of Time
2010 Coca-Cola 600 - 4:08:20
2010 Kobalt Tools 500 - 3:59:59
2010 Showtime Southern 500 - 3:57:35
2010 Subway Fresh Fit 600 - 3:48:14
2010 Daytona 500 - 3:47:16
2010 Gillette Fustion ProGlide 500 - 3:44:30
2010 Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 - 3:39:05
2010 Aaron's 499 - 3:31:58
2010 Auto Club 500 - 3:31:24
2010 Samsung Mobile 500 - 3:25:34
2010 Food City 500 - 3:20:50
2010 Autism Speaks 400 - 3:06:21
2010 Coke Zero 400 - 3:03:28
2010 Crown Royal 400 - 3:00:47
2010 Toyota / Save Mart 350 - 2:56:38 (This is with 7 cautions as well, making it too short. Potentially, this race could run in 2 hours considering how long cautions take during road course races)
2010 Shelby American - 2:49:53
2010 Lenox 300 - 2:48:38
2010 Lifelock.com 400 - 2:45:34
2010 Heluva Good! 400 - 2:33:28 (Michigan always seems like the shortest race of the season. Adding 100 miles to the races wouldn't add that much more time.)
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