In NASCAR, the need for change and the need for tradition form an uneasy tension. This is especially true within the schedule as fans clamber for change, but they also appreciate some events staying on the schedule for years and years to come. Today, we will focus on the idea of change as we look at whether or not these NASCAR events on the schedule may have run their course.
Clash at the Coliseum
The Clash at the Coliseum was a great revitalization of an event that NASCAR fans had grown weary of. It brought NASCAR into an environment that no one ever thought it could go, and it got many thinking about whether or not other sports stadiums could host a NASCAR race. However, 2024 is the third and final year of the original contract for the Clash at the Coliseum. Does this open the door for a potential change?
The 2023 event did not have quite as much buzz with decreased TV viewership, but, the crowd seemed to stay relatively similar with NASCAR expecting 50,000 people to the race according to Sports Business Journal. As long as the local crowd continues to support the race and Auto Club Speedway remains out of commission, this event has an incentive to stay as is. However, the end of the contract does open up an interesting possibility.
Denny Hamlin opened up this conversation back in May following the Darlington race. Hamlin argued that “Throwback Weekend” at Darlington, which has been in place since 2015, has run its’ course. Hamlin provided reasons including the lack of a specific era they were throwing back to, not recognizing cars, and not seeing crew members as into as they once were.
On the flip side, others are fans of throwback weekend. Dale Jarrett is a major proponent of Throwback Weekend because it gives fans and those within the sport a chance to appreciate the sport’s history and bring NASCAR alumni back together. There are two sides to this argument, and, there is some merit to both points of view that Jarrett and Hamlin posed. Will “Throwback Weekend” continue to be a part of the sport for years to come, or could it be adjusted in the future?
Finale at Phoenix
Many fans have been calling for the season finale weekend to be moved from Phoenix Raceway. Those who call for it point primarily to the racing product, and specifically to the short track product with the Next-Gen car. It’s not a popular track amongst the fanbase, and those within the fanbase have called for other tracks such as Homestead to take over for Phoenix.
However, on the other hand, the finale at Phoenix has a lot of benefits. First off, it is in the perfect geographic location in terms of weather, and, Phoenix welcomes NASCAR with open arms during Championship weekend. On top of that, the at-track facilities are modern, and that makes it a great place for fans, media, and drivers alike. There are plenty of reasons that NASCAR stays there, but, will NASCAR grow weary of it in the future? It is important to note that the tracks NASCAR could go to for the finale are limited as well.
The Charlotte Roval
The Charlotte Roval was welcomed with open arms in 2018 as it was a new road course on the schedule when the road course racing product was spectacular. Now, times have changed. NASCAR has added plenty of new road courses to the schedule with a hit-or-miss racing product, and the Next-Gen intermediate track product has flourished.
As a result, many are asking for the Roval to be eliminated in place of the Charlotte oval in the fall. However, Marcus Smith of SMI praised the Roval for the diversity of events it creates at the venue. There is something to be said for how unique of a venue Charlotte is with the Roval, but, does it serve the purpose it once did?
These events are all on the 2024 schedule, but could they change in 2025? It will be interesting to see what big changes NASCAR has heading into 2025.