With the release of the 2011 NASCAR Schedule on Wednesday August 18th there has been much discussion over if the new schedule is better or worse than the last ten years has been. I think it depends on whose point of view one is looking from on whether the 2011 schedule is an improvement over 2010 or just something new.
One person who voiced his opinion about Kentucky Speedway joining the Cup Series during his Thursday night Live Online Chat is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Earnhardt said that he knows there are a lot of NASCAR fans in that part of the country. He also said that he went to Kentucky Speedway before the official announcement was made to do some unofficial testing and the track was a lot of fun to run.
In regard to Texas getting a night race, NASCAR fan Michelle says “I love it! Texas is my home track and we get a night race!!” Another fan gives the opinion that he is concerned regarding the temperatures during a November night race in Fort Worth. A valid concern, it seems, since the average high on November 6 at Texas Motor Speedway is 70 degrees and the average low is 44 degrees. This means that by the end of the race, temperatures could be hovering in the mid-fifties. On the upside, Texas Motor Speedway can expect sales of sweatshirts and jackets to improve.
Chicago appears to be another source of disagreement among fans. One fan from Michigan says she is glad that Chicago made the Chase. Jim, a NASCAR fan from northern Indiana says that he thinks NASCAR will have difficulty to get the desired level of media coverage in Chicago for the September 18, 2011 Cup race if the NFL's Chicago Bears are also playing that day.
On the corresponding date during this 2010 NFL season Chicago plays at Dallas. If the 2011 NFL Schedule doesn't change it looks like the first September race at Chicago will be taking place the same day as a home Chicago Bears game. Having a NASCAR race in Chicago on the same day as a NFL football games seems risky, at best. Lodging will be hard to come by, traffic could be horrendous, and getting media coverage for the event may be tough.
One definite positive was mentioned by Steve O'Donnell of NASCAR during an on-camera interview. O'Donnell said that the three opening races of the season are all unique. Opening the season with Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas take drivers from a 2.5 mile Super Speedway to the short-track racing style on the one mile tri-oval at Phoenix followed by a fast 1.5 mile D-oval at Las Vegas. I agree that the opening three races in 2011 are going to be fun to watch.
One much talked about item during the final wait for the 2011 NASCAR Schedule release was whether the final race of the season would remain at Homestead. There was much speculation that the finale would move to Las Vegas to make it easier for teams, media, and fans to attend the Awards Banquet following the last race of the season.
Photo 1: http://aolscv.sports.aol.nascar.com/
Photo 2: http://www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/
Photo 3: http://www.newsobserver.com/
Photo 4: http://www.nascarbrasil.com/