NASCAR Majors: NASCAR Should Follow PGA Tour and Designate Races As Majors

Paul CarreauAnalyst IJanuary 13, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 14:  Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

In the world of the PGA, it's The Masters, The U.S. Open, The British Open and The PGA Championship. Those are the four tournaments of the year that every golfer circles on their calendar as must-win events. Those are the PGA Tour's four Majors.

Tennis also has its four major tournaments and maybe it is time for NASCAR to designate four of its races as major championships.

Not only would this add a little more buzz and excitement to those particular events, but it would make winning them that much more special to the competitors.

There is just something special about being designated a major champion. It is a distinction that you can carry with you for the rest of your career, regardless of what else you may or may not accomplish.

For a driver to carry that distinction, it would almost be like a title that precedes your name. Anywhere they went, they would be known as "Major Champion, Jeff Gordon" for example.

So if NASCAR were to single out four particular races as its majors, which four would they be? Seemingly, two of them would be fairly obvious. The other two could be up for debate, but I think in the end, it would be the following four.


Daytona 500

This one is a no-brainer. As it is, the Daytona 500 is already a race like no other. It is the crown jewel on the NASCAR schedule. Most drivers will tell you that Daytona is about one thing and one thing only: winning.

When it comes to this race, points don't mean anything to any of the drivers. If you can't win the Daytona 500, you might just as well finish last, because anything other than a win in this event is a disappointment.

And that mindset and way of thinking is exactly what a major should be about, and no race on the schedule provides that thought process quite like Daytona.


Brickyard 400

 This is the other one that seems to be an overwhelmingly easy choice. While every driver in the garage would love nothing more than to win the Daytona 500, the same could probably be said about winning in Indianapolis.

While Daytona is easily the most famous track in terms of NASCAR racing, Indianapolis is probably the most famous race track, period.

Mark Martin once said that if he could choose to win either Daytona or at the Brickyard, he would choose the Brickyard because of its rich history and what it symbolizes to auto racing as a whole.

Once again, another case of points not meaning anything and the only thing that matters is holding the trophy at the end of the day: The true embodiment of a major championship.


Coca-Cola 600

The final two choices for majors could be debated, but I think in the end, the Coca-Cola 600 makes the most sense to be major No. 3.

First and foremost, it is the longest race of the year, making it all the more difficult to win. And major championships should not be easy to win, so in that regard, this race makes perfect sense.

Secondly, the Coca-Cola 600 is held annually at Charlotte Motor Speedway which, for all intents and purposes, is the home race track of NASCAR. It would almost seem foolish to not hold one of the four most important races of the season on all of the teams' home fields.

The last major would be the toughest one to pick. I think it should go to either of two different race tracks.

While Darlington, the track too tough to tame, would make a great choice because of its difficulty to master as well as it's rich history, I think the fourth major would have to go to a short track.


Bristol's Night Race

In a close call, Bristol edges out Darlington to get the fourth major. It just makes sense to have a variety of tracks to represent the four majors. And previous to this selection, the shortest track being used for a major was Charlotte at a mile-anda h-alf.

For me, the night race at Bristol has all of the ingredients necessary to be a major. There is always high drama, as well as high tension. And on top of that, the setting is tremendous.

Bristol is the only race track on the circuit that is fully enclosed by grandstands and the atmosphere in the stands is always some of the best all season.

This is another race that if you want to win it, you truly have to earn it, and that makes it worthy of being called a major.

So while it may never happen that certain races get tabbed as majors, it is a fun proposition to think about.

Just imagine if majors had been implemented over the course of the 2010 season. Jamie McMurray, a driver that most people had labeled as an underachiever going into the year, would now be known as a two-time major champion.

And quite frankly, putting it that way just has a nice ring to it: Not bad for an underachiever.