Will Shorter Races Mean More Excitement On Track?

Patti RodischAnalyst IJanuary 16, 2010

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 11:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway on October 11, 2009 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

This week Auto Club Speedway announced that they will reduce the length of the Pepsi Max 500 to 400 miles.

Fans and drivers are praising the move but the question remains, will it really make the race more exciting?

Richard Childress Racing driver, Jeff Burton believes it will.

“I have been a proponent of shortening some of the races because I think that if you have a real long race – it doesn’t promote not running as hard.  We run hard all the time — but the consequence of not running well is bigger because there’s less miles, so you have to run hard."

In the past, we have seen drivers maybe not push so hard early in a race, to save their equipment. For some that has worked and for others that has not worked.

Fans have complained that it looks like drivers are not pushing hard early in the race and are just riding around until the final 50 laps.

At ACS, particularly the 250 lap race in combination with the newer car, the races produced poor racing and lack of passing.

Both drivers and fans have said that some races are too long . So when ACS made the announcement many fans applauded the move.

On the track's Facebook and Twitter pages as well as emails, the feedback from fans has been positive.

Many have said it will make the race more exciting than it was before.

That concept remains to be seen. Just because the race is shorter does not mean that the race will be any more or less exciting.

It is only 50 laps less than it has been in the past. If there is a long green flag run which we have seen at many tracks in 2009, the cars will be strung out and then where is the excitement?  

ACS has become the poster child for long green flag runs that string out the field.

Low attendance at recent events have many fans and analyst suggesting removing one of the track's two races held there every year.

Ending a race 50 laps earlier won’t make a race exciting; the product on the track will be what decides that.

NASCAR is making changes to the car which they are hoping will improve the racing on the track. If the racing improves long, races won’t seem so long. Fans will be able to stay engaged with race.

Just because the race is shorter does not mean that the drivers will necessarily run harder earlier in the race. Nor does it mean that the cars will not get strung out.

What a shorter race could mean is more fans in the seats and a pickup in the action on track.

We will not see how effective the track's move will really pay off both in the stands and on the track until the race in October

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