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Daytona In September? Yet More 2024 Schedule Rumors

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On Monday night, a certain screenshot was floating around Twitter that appeared to reveal the date of the 2024 summer race at Daytona. It’s not close to July 4th like many were asking for, rather it appears to be September 28th, which would likely be during the Playoffs. If this happens, is this the right move?

Why NASCAR Would Choose This Date

NASCAR is trying to give their most exciting race tracks the sport’s most prominent dates. Bob Pockrass noted on Twitter that it seems Darlington Raceway could be getting the regular season finale because of the changes to the schedule. That takes that very prominent date away from Daytona, so NASCAR may want to move it somewhere else.

As surprising as it may sound, putting the Daytona Night race in the fall is not unprecedented. In 1998, the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, originally scheduled for July, was postponed due to wildfires in the state of Florida. As a result, the race was postponed to October.

NASCAR has done it before, and if they want Daytona to still be in some sort of Playoff consideration, this is what they have to do. However, there are some people who would not be fans of this decision for a couple of reasons.

The Issue of Weather

Many people, particularly Floridians, have one major problem with Daytona being this time of year, hurricane season. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), peak hurricane season is from mid-August through mid-October. This date would put NASCAR in Florida, on the coast, in the middle of hurricane season.

Now, NASCAR would likely not put those in the industry in harm’s way if a hurricane came. If there was a hurricane forecasted for that weekend, NASCAR would likely make a decision leading up to the race. However, this would also lead to a major scheduling problem especially if the race was in the Playoffs.

NASCAR can’t just move an entire race weekend to another weekend as easily as they could in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This situation may happen if NASCAR has to postpone a race because of a hurricane. That could be a major problem.

That is part of why some hope to bring the 4th of July date back. July is not the middle of hurricane season, and, even though summer thunderstorms are a problem, the weather is less of a dice roll as a result.

The Issue of the Playoffs

If Daytona moves to the Playoffs, that means we could be looking at two superspeedway races in the Playoffs. Many fans would enjoy that, but others would not. Having multiple superspeedway races in the Playoffs would be seen as an obvious attempt to drum up more excitement in the Playoffs, but, through another wild card race.

It calls into question the integrity of the Champion in the sport. If the Playoffs add another wild card race, then that means there is more uncertainty heading into the Playoffs. Is this about crowning a legitimate Champion, or is it about producing the craziest moments?

Now, some may call this a totally unfair argument because Superspeedways are a part of the NASCAR schedule. If you want to be successful in the sport, you need to master those races. At the end of the day, some of the best drivers in the sport end up winning these races because it takes a great race car driver to win those races.

Still, superspeedway races can produce crazy results, and some drivers can end up in incidents that are none of their own doing. That can be tough to swallow if that happens multiple times in the Postseason.

Daytona moving to September could potentially be a major source of controversy. How could this pan out?

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Joshua Lipowski

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