A Simple Plan

Only a masochist - or someone who collects frequent flier miles - could love the current Winston Cup schedule. It’s a seemingly interminable stretch of cross-country travels that looks as if it were put together using a map of the United States and a dartboard.

In fairness to NASCAR, the schedule has evolved over the years as the sport exploded and races were added. Traditional dates more or less held their place on the calendar while open weekends simply absorbed the new events. The two latest additions, Chicago and Kansas, were slotted into the last open spots to give us the swelled 36-point race slate teams must now endure.

But the time has come to give the Winston Cup schedule a major overhaul. That sounds easy, but in reality, it’s a major jigsaw puzzle that must take into consideration travel, weather, television partners and tradition.

But because RacingOne is a full-service auto-racing source, I have crunched the numbers and devised what I consider to be the perfect 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup schedule.

This proposed slate doesn’t take into consideration the need to eliminate dual events at some facilities (Rockingham or Darlington) or adding races at tracks worthy of a lucrative Winston Cup race (Nashville, Kentucky, Texas):

My 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Schedule
Date		Track
February 17 Daytona
February 24 California
March 3 Las Vegas
March 10 Homestead
March 17 Darlington
March 24 Bristol
April 7 Texas
April 14 Martinsville
April 21 Talladega
April 28 Rockingham
May 5 Atlanta
May 18 Richmond
May 26 Charlotte
June 2 Dover
June 9 Michigan
June 16 Pocono
June 23 Sears Point
July 6 The Winston
July 14 Chicago
July 21 New Hampshire
July 28 Watkins Glen
August 4 Indianapolis
August 11 Pocono
August 18 Michigan
August 24 Bristol
September 1 Darlington
September 7 Richmond
September 15 New Hampshire
September 22 Dover
September 29 Kansas
October 6 Charlotte
October 13 Martinsville
October 20 Talladega
October 27 Atlanta
November 3 Rockingham
November 10 Phoenix
November 17 Daytona


Now the highlights:

· Move California to the second race of the season, flip-flopping with the spot currently held by Rockingham. This accomplishes two things; it gets the tour to a warm weather site in February and into the second-largest television market in the country right on the heels of the Daytona 500, the biggest race of the season. And with the tour headed to Las Vegas the next week, the crews can make one west coast swing and eliminate another cross-country trip later in the season.
· Move Homestead up from November to March, again solving a weather-related situation and giving the folks in Atlanta some much needed relief from the early-season climate problems.
· Atlanta’s spring race goes to the first weekend of May, which should be a much more pleasant time to race in Georgia. Richmond’s night race gets moved back to the May Saturday night, formerly reserved for The Winston.
· The Winston becomes the mid-summer all-star event it deserves to be by shifting to the Independence Day weekend slot now held for Daytona’s Pepsi 400. It's the perfect opportunity for NASCAR to bask in the same glow that Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game generates.
· Daytona should be where the season begins and ends, so the second race at the “World Center of Racing” becomes the season finale. The Winston Cup title chase is decided and the champion crowned at NASCAR’s headquarters.


There’s only one thing wrong with this plan… it makes too much sense.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

Photos

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