Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shortening the 600??

I spent my first day ever at Daytona International Speedway today. Somehow, in 17 years of employment at the Charlotte Observer, I've never been assigned to cover the Daytona 500. Generally, Tom Sorensen -- my friend and our other sports columnist -- takes this assignment but he's got other stuff to do this week. I'll be here the rest of the weekend, writing a number of columns, including one on Danica Patrick for Saturday's newspaper and one on the new style of "two-car tandem" racing at Daytona for Friday's newspaper.

One interesting thing that came out of today was a little debate about whether the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is too long. Fox Sports chairman David Hill -- whose network televises the event -- thinks so.

Hill said in January that NASCAR races should be shortened to fit into a three-hour broadcast window. On a call with reporters Thursday, Hill was asked that. (The 600 -- the longest race on the NASCAR schedule, which is one of its claims to fame -- generally lasts over four hours).

Hill stood by his comments Thursday and said he was speaking specifically about the 600, which this season is scheduled for May 29. Hill said the 600-mile race at CMS “tends to go on and on.”

Later on Thursday came this counterpunch from Marcus Smith, the president and general manager of CMS: "Shortening the 600? We were actually considering adding a halftime show!"


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Marcus on this simply cannot shorter the 600. It is an iconic race and deserves its length. If people don't want to watch, then that is fine. But there are still those out there who care about history and want it to stay how it is.

Anonymous said...

Shorten the idiot race to 500 miles and how about quieting down those eardrum splitting engines too? If they can de-noise a jet engine down to almost no sound that 100 times bigger stronger and louder then why not those tiny race cars engines?
Ear plugs are worthless.

Fans need to bitch about that ungodly engine noise roar. Put some damn mufflers on too.

Anonymous said...

They they go again whining about NASCAR race track deaths using Earnhardt? Hey yo. Its a dare devil 200mph speed demon XXX-treme sport not for cowards like those who play safe pro-sports you morons!!!

The internal combustion gas engine vehicle is a moving bomb that kills 40-50,000 Americans yearly and injures millions more. Any concern?

*** Mecklenburg County alone averages 80 vehicle deaths a year and 10,000 serious injuries. Wheres that concern ????????

#3 is gone, move on said...

I thnk we can all agree that not many people care anymore either way. NASCAR peaked 5 years ago, in another 5, it will be back on ESPN in a tape delay. The races today are more boring than watching grass grow. Horrible products have a way of dying out, and this one is on it's last leg. Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

Hill's way off on this one. The 600 has been around for over 50 years and is one of NASCAR's biggest races. No way should it be shortened. If they want to shorten some races, shorten some of the 500 milers to 400 miles, but leave the 600 alone.
As for NASCAR on it's last leg... races still draw over 100k per event and it's still the No. 2 sport in TV ratings. Has it waned in popularity in the past several years, yes. But it's not going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Many believe Earnhardts (like Elvis)death was faked so his son could take over since he had mega millions and getting royalties now.

NASCAR doubled in business after his popular demise and that small fender bender was a joke. No way in hell that killed him. Great for business..

Anonymous said...

The other explanation was DESr passed out and hit the wall on the last lap and died from a heart attack with his heart murmur with his genetic history plus the death coroner report in Daytona is SECRETIVE to this day kid of like Obamas birth certificate(and Micheal Jackson who just made 350 million last yr) $$$$$$$$

Either way NASCAR pays for the silence since to die racing is iconic for DE plus masculine and manly NOT some freakin wussy heart attack.
Dont let the secret out ...

Anonymous said...



His racing legend father Ralph Earnhardt was born in Kannapolis NC on Feb 23th 1928 and died Sept 26th 1973 of a heart attack on his kitchen floor found by his wife.

He was only 45 years old.

"Ralph Earnhardt died at the age of 45 on September 26, 1973 from a heart attack and was found on the kitchen floor by his wife Martha. It has been a long standing 'urban legend' that he died in his garage and was found by his son Dale. In the film: The Dale Earnhardt Story, Ralph Earnhardt was portrayed by J. K. Simmons. The film portrayed Earnhardt's death as the urban legend dictated, where Dale (Barry Pepper) found him dead of a heart attack in the garage"

J said...

I agree that as a general rule, races should fit in a 3-hour window. In particular, someone needs to relieve us of the torture of 4-hour races at Pocono and Las Vegas.

But there are 4 races that should never be altered - the Daytona 500 at the end of February, the nighttime Bristol race in August, the Southern 500 at Darlington on Labor Day Sunday, and the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Sunday. Those are the races with the richest and most storied traditions and should be held sacred on the schedule. You wanna shorten everything else? Fine. But those 4 should never be touched.