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Random Lugnuts: Much Ado About Nothing

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR What is Random Lugnuts?  It's random bits of stock car racing commentary written on an irregular basis by an irregular racing fan.  The name is a reference to the lugnuts that go flying off a car during a pit stop:  you never know where they are going to go, what they're going to do when they get there, they can be annoying, they're often useless after a race, and every once in a while someone gets hit and they don't know exactly where it came from.
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Random Lugnuts: Much Ado About Nothing

Bill Crittenden
April 20, 2010

What do I have to write about today?  Nothin'.  Why?  Because that's all I've seen of the Cup race so far this week for the second time this year.

Yesterday I missed the second race of the still young Sprint Cup season.  Thanks to another Sunday rainout, the Cup race was another Monday show.  Fortunately, I still have my job (for now), but why can't I have my job and watch NASCAR, too?  I have no complaints about racing on Monday, I don't think NASCAR is ready for rain tires and I'm not going to get into that...again.

What NASCAR is ready for, however, is Monday night racing.  Why the hell are NASCAR races run when most people are at work?  Why do I have to wait until Tuesday night's Race in 60 on Speed Channel to catch more than the highlights?

NASCAR seems to be interested in doing more for the fans this year.  They need to figure out how to get the racing on TV when people are home.  It's not like Americans don't watch sports on Monday evenings, just ask any football fan with ESPN.

So I went through all the potential reasons I could think of for running a race during the day and thought of why it shouldn't be an obstacle between NASCAR and its fans.

Lights.  I know that an actual evening race requires a lit track, and for decades NASCAR races were daytime events, so in the past it made sense.  In that case (Martinsville doesn't have lights), perhaps the race could be run on tape delay like the Olympics?  However, many tracks are now lit, (Texas Motor Speedway has lights), and fans like night racing...and I don't think there's anything else to add to that.

Let me just take a moment here and say that while tape delay is preferable to no race, it's certainly not good enough when you get home from work and someone says something like, "How 'bout that Denny Hamlin, winning again right after his surgery?"  A live broadcast is important in sports.

Broadcast Network.  In this era of multichannel packages, why the heck can't NASCAR's broadcast partners find a channel to put the race on?  I've seen "regularly scheduled programming" get bumped for baseball playoffs which may or may not involve teams that baseball fans may be interested in, so why not for NASCAR, which always includes all the teams NASCAR fans are interested in?  If a race really can't be run or broadcast at night on Fox, they can turn the race over to corporate partner Speed Channel.  Thanks to the strength of their stock car offerings, most serious NASCAR fans I know are subscribers.  As for when ESPN is broadcasting, I have 8 versions of ESPN on my satellite, I'm sure they can find an open channel to broadcast a Sprint Cup race.  And if NASCAR's broadcast partners are going to fight over contracts on material like they did when Turner Sports killed FOXSports.com's extended postrace broadcast, NASCAR needs to step in and make sure the fans can see the races or they might need to find new networks for the races.  Seeing as how NASCAR is among the most watched sports events in America, I'm sure just the threat of looking elsewhere will be enough to put the current networks in a sharing mood.

Travel Time.  Racing into the evening might put a strain on all those teams that have to get back to Charlotte and off to another track before Thursday.  However, all of those teams are already staying in town much longer than anticipated for a Monday race and in yesterday's case many doing double duty had no problem sticking around for the Nationwide race Monday evening.  And, after all, the races themselves are what they do all that prep work, traveling, and personal appearances for.  What's the point of making just a few more hours for all that if it means running a race very few can watch live?

They've Already Done It.  NASCAR actually did run a night race on a Monday.  Last night, as a matter of fact.  Why the heck was the Nationwide race run when so many more people people could see it after working hours but not the Cup race?

Tires.  Perhaps they ran the schedule they did yesterday because the Cup race was expected to be a day race and the Nationwide event was expected to be a night race, so they were keeping things in line for setups and tires.  While I don't like to see Chad Knaus given any more ways to win races for Jimmie Johnson, I think that unless they're going to have an Indianapolis-style tire debacle they should just throw the challenge at the teams and let the best adapters win.  It is, after all, part of the reason the finish of the Daytona 500 was as exciting as it was as they had to wait for track repairs to finish much later in the evening than had been expected when the green flag dropped.

Anything else?  Is there another reason why NASCAR doesn't run Monday night races?  I've searched and Googled and I can't seem to find a real reason as to why I've had to miss two points-paying Cup races out of 8 so far this year (and 2 out of the last 3).  E-mail me at admin@carsandracingstuff.com and I'll respond to it here. CarsAndRacingStuff.com Racing

After a dismal Phoenix performance, CarsAndRacingStuff.com Racing surges ahead to the 61st percentile in Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Auto Racing, thanks in particular to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch for their top 10 finishes.  Seeing his performance improve, and seeing Talladega next on the schedule, I think I'm going to leave Dale Jr. on the active list.   As for C Group I'm looking at Paul Menard and Scott Speed.  If you're looking for an A Grouper that isn't wearing a Bowtie, remember that Greg Biffle did run 3rd at Daytona, the last restrictor plate race.

If you've got a team, join Fans of Random Lugnuts, group ID#28844, the password is lugnuts.

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