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After a forced pause of 10 weeks due to COVID-19, NASCAR has had to go back to the drawing board to figure out how it would return. Other sporting organizations have dropped out completely it seems. It's in the middle of the summer, and MLB still can't seem to get their stuff together. NASCAR just might have the winning formula... flexibility, and openness to change.
NASCAR definitely went on a diet with their approach. They've cleared their calendar, which would have been full of qualifying days and practices, and made it to where it's just racing. That's right, NASCAR isn't doing practices or qualifying this season, and the results seem to be very positive for the sport. Drivers seem to like it as well. Not only is it a way of taking safety measures during the pandemic, but it has made the sport more exciting and unpredictable. Brad Keselowski put it best in my opinion.
“The limited practice, show up and race, and the time window that benefits both the east and west coast,” said Keselowski. “No qualifying. Inversion from the week before is really good, because it mixes the field up and creates some good storylines there. I think it’s fair. It’s compelling, and it’s a time where quite frankly, the sports world, even if it wasn’t for COVID, midweek races in the summer, when you’re generally not having a lot of competition, is in a time period where everybody is hungry for content.
“I think they’ve got gold here. COVID or not, I hope we keep this for years to come. I think this is a great little format that’s good for the sport and good for the fans and good for everybody all around, so kudos to them.”
After winning at Bristol on Sunday, Keselowski reiterated his point when asked why there have been so many drivers making mistakes recently. Without a chance to practice or work on the cars, Keselowski believes the format lends itself to errors, and that isn’t a bad thing.
I agree with this totally. People are always complaining about how boring stock car racing can be. Well, here's your answer. Perhaps the other sports organizations should follow NASCAR's example. Cut the fat, and stick to what's most important, the sport itself.