NASCAR officials have been promoting a new weekend change with an enhanced schedule, and the change gives drivers an extra day off on Friday’s that they didn’t have before.
The standard schedule includes practicing on Friday, practicing and qualifying on Saturday and racing on Sunday. But the enhanced schedule includes practicing on Saturday only, while both qualifying and the race take place on Sunday. Instead of practicing on Friday, fans get to take part in a “fan experience” where drivers make appearances at the track.
Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage isn’t a big fan of the new enhanced schedule, and he told the Star-Telegram that the change would hurt his track financially with campers, and he wouldn’t support NASCAR making the change a permanent one.
“There will be no camping,” Gossage said. “Are you going drag your stuff out here to camp Saturday night and leave Sunday? Camping is the one revenue stream that is increasing.
“So let’s cut the legs off of that.”
The main motivation for NASCAR to use the enhanced package is that it would help financially each week. Teams would save money, and drivers would have an extra day off.
But while the package helps teams, Gossage said it would hurt his track and likely other tracks throughout the sport.
“Three years ago they cut a day off of cup activity. They took Thursday away,” Gossage said. “We were the only one on the schedule [to do two days]. Our camping dropped 40 percent, which we have not recovered from.
“We’re growing back up. It was a multi-million dollar hit, that deal was.”
George is already in NASCAR’s cross hairs. Just last week, he complained on Twitter about taking a day away, and NASCAR told him to mind his business.
Both sides have a point, but it feels like NASCAR will win this debate over the tracks in the long run. However, if the tracks start losing money from camping and fan attendance, it might force officials to keep the standard schedule in the future.