Welp, the 2020 NASCAR season opener was washed out by Mother Nature. This isn’t the first time The Great American Race got postponed to a Monday, we saw this back in 2012 as well.
The biggest issue that came from this announcement was fans on social media questioning why NASCAR decided to wait to start the race at 4 p.m. and not their normal noon start.
My first thought was that the weather was going to be bad in the morning, so move it back so track officials can get the track ready, but upon looking at the forecast, it’s supposed to be clear weather all day.
So why NASCAR? Why the late start?
Some social media comment ideas were that people would be getting home from work in time to see the ending, or that people on the west coast are starting to watch at 1 p.m. PST instead of 9 a.m. PST.
I personally enjoy a late start, especially since I have class until 3:50 p.m. But besides that, I enjoy it because it means that almost half the race will be under the lights.
Racing at night is more exciting for me personally, especially with this rules package.
During speedweeks at Daytona, we’ve seen that if the car is bottoming out and sparking, it means you have speed.
To keep the explanation simple, the sparking shows that the car is as low to the ground as possible, meaning the most downforce is being achieved (down force=speed).
So, racing at night will allow for those sparks to literally shine and glow their brightest.
Another thing from a journalist standpoint and broadcaster standpoint is the storyline that is the transition from the day to night.
A racetrack will go through so many changes as the sun goes down and the moon comes up. One big change is track temperature.
The cooler the racing surface, the more grip the cars have meaning the faster they’ll go.
So how does a driver adapt to that change? How does a crew chief plan strategy around that? So many factors.
So back to the beginning here, why the 4 p.m. start time? Maybe it was because of the west coasters, maybe the allowing people to get home from work (or class for me) to tune in, or maybe just the way the television schedule panned out? Who knows for sure…
This weekend the NASCAR storm heads out to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for race one of their three race “West Coast Swing.” That swing of course consists of racing at Las Vegas, Phoenix, and California.
I’ll see everyone in a couple weeks to discuss how the beginning of the season has gone, and which drivers I believe you need to watch this season.