NASCAR Could Eye Monday Night Racing With New Media-Rights Deal On Horizon
With NASCAR's new TV partner NBC "coming on board for the second half of the season for the next 10 years, 'Monday Night Racing' may be one of the new wrinkles, depending if a track is interested in making such a move," according to Randy Covitz of the K.C. STAR. Stronger than expected TV ratings when the rain-delayed '12 Daytona 500 "was pushed into a Monday night could be an impetus for prime-time racing on either Fox or NBC." Kansas Speedway President Pat Warren: "I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to do one here. That would be a television-driven issue." Covitz notes NASCAR "expects to receive requests for schedule changes from tracks over the next few weeks." NASCAR Senior VP/Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell: "Everybody would love that June, July summer date. … Unfortunately we’re not able to deliver 36 of those. We do our best to really manage all expectations with tracks." Warren "is aware moving to a Monday night would cause problems for fans who travel great distances for a weekend race when they are off work." Warren: "It becomes a more Kansas City-based event, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but creates different marketing challenges." There also is "something to be said for establishing equity in a race date." O'Donnell: "Fans make plans well in advance and travel long ways to our races" (K.C. STAR, 5/9).
OLD, YET STEADY: The AP's Pete Iacobelli noted Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile "likes where his old, country track stands in NASCAR, even if it's no longer the sports' backdrop for honoring mothers this week." Wile: "Look, it's an old place, but there's lots of things going on." Wile is confident that the track's April race weekend "will stick and give fans something to count on each season." Darlington "plans to build on its past and connect with a younger crowd, using NASCAR great Bill Elliott and his son, rising star Chase Elliott, as faces of a continuing campaign." Wile expects that the track will "roll out details about Darlington's throwback 2015 race weekend throughout the year" (AP, 5/8).