Monday, October 12, 2015

Musings from the Weekend: Saturday Night Only

Once again, it rained everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Bathurst, Fuji, Sochi, Charlotte. Two races were moved to Sunday, one because of the rain, the other because of someone screwing up the schedule and not knowing when sunset would be. A manufacture won at its home track. Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards won the Bathurst 1000. Here is a run down of what got me thinking.

Saturday Night Only
You know I am not a fan of the Chase but it's here and it doesn't appear to be going anywhere even though it should die a quick, painless death. If NASCAR is going to do it though, doesn't it make sense to race as many Saturday night races as possible? 

Let's be honest, NASCAR does get overshadowed on Sundays. There is just no way around it. NASCAR does get very good ratings considering what it is up against but wouldn't becoming a Saturday night series perhaps help the ratings? College football is popular in the United States but not as popular as the NFL. It would be better competition to go head-to-head with. 

Also, NBCSN doesn't have much signature viewing. Other than Wednesday Night Rivalry for the NHL, NBCSN doesn't have a Monday Night Football or a Saturday full of college football. Could this be its chance to have Saturday Night NASCAR, where most of the Chase races are at 7:00 p.m. ET Saturday night? 

Most of the tracks in the Chase have lights. The tracks in the Chase that don't have lights are Loudon, Dover, Talladega and Martinsville. They could still be Sunday afternoon races or tracks with lights could replace at least one or two of them (Loudon and Dover I am looking at you two). It would save the teams money if most of the weekends became two-day events. For the few weekends where all three national touring divisions are running together the Trucks could be Friday night and Saturday could become a double feature. NASCAR's second division could run in the afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET and lead into the Cup race. It might actually be beneficial to NASCAR's second division as it gives race fans a full afternoon and night of racing and could lead to more people tuning in early, leading to a ratings increase, leading to more sponsors being interested in the series. 

The only way this Saturday night idea could get any better is if NASCAR shortened all the Chase races to 300-350 miles. 

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I didn't have a good week with the limited IndyCar news that was revealed.

I have to admit, I was shaken this week. It is clear I have no faith in IndyCar management and I don't believe they are leading the series in the right direction. I think the series is chasing hallucinated golden carrots after taking a shot of heroin. Mark Miles talks more out his backside than his mouth (someone make that into a cartoon) and comparing his three years at the helm to Randy Bernard's three years, you can't say Miles has done a better job and you can't say IndyCar is in a better place.

Is there anyone who is actually behind Miles?

I was shaken. I was ready to say enough. I was ready to cast the series off and say good riddance. But I can't. Right when I was about to give the series the middle finger and slash the tires on Miles' car I remembered that the suits, the people who unfortunately run not only IndyCar but also every other soulless sports sanctioning body in the world, aren't why we are there. Though there actions fuck everything up for the rest of us, we watch, we invest; we care because of the people who compete. We share some connection, whether it's major and minor, with the men and women who compete.

Telling IndyCar to fuck off would be a mistake because it would throwing away the competitive series that brings together Americans and drivers from around the globe in North America's premier open-wheel series. I would be writing off great people. Sports are full of corrupt, slimy people from Roger Goodell to Sepp Blatter but they don't stop people from tuning into a Sunday of NFL action or FIFA World Cup qualifying.

I can't let the suits ruin it for me and neither should you.

I am just going to tread on. As hard as it may be, I cannot let the incompetency of those who run the series get in the way. It may be difficult but it is all I can do.

Champion From the Weekend
The #84 HTP Motorsport Bentley of Maximilian Buhk and Vincent Abril won the Blancpain Sprint Series championship after sweeping the weekend at Zandvoort.

Despite losing the Blancpain Sprint Series title, Robin Frijns won the Blancpain GT Series championship.

Stoffel Vandoorne clinched the GP2 title with finishes of third and fourth at Sochi while all Alexander Rossi could do to keep his title hopes alive was win the feature and finish sixth in the sprint. Richie Stanaway won the sprint race.

Johann Zarco clinched the Moto2 championship after Esteve Rabat withdrew from Motegi due to an injury. Just to be safe though, Zarco won the race, his seventh victory of 2015. 

Winners From the Weekend
You know about Craig Lowndes, Steven Richards, Alexander Rossi, Richie Stanaway, Johann Zarco and what happened at Zandvoort but did you know...

Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix.

Joey Logano won the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup race from Charlotte.

The #17 Porsche of Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley won the FIA WEC's 6 Hours of Fuji, their third consecutive victory and that will give them a one-point lead in the championship over the #7 Audi of André Lotterer, Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer. The #26 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan of Sam Bird, Romain Rusinov and Julien Canal won in LMP2. The #51 AF Corse Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander won in GTE-Pro for the first time since Silverstone. The #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche of Patrick Dempsey, Patrick Long and Marco Seefried won their first race of 2015 in GTE-Am. 

Dani Pedrosa won the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix.

The #8 Race Performance Oreca-Judd of Nicolas Leutwiler and Shinji Nakano won the Asian Le Mans Series season opener from Fuji. Second overall was the #3 Clearwater Racing McLaren 650S GT3 of Rob Bell, Keita Sawa and Mok Weng Sun, winners in the GT class. The #1 DC Racing Ligier-Nissan of David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung finished third overall and won in LMP3. The #51 KCMG Porsche GT3 Cup of Paul Ip, Christian Ried and James Munro won in GT-Am by default as they were the only GT-Am entrant in the race. 

Niccolò Antonelli won the Moto3 race from Motegi. 

Luca Ghiotto and Jimmy Eriksson split the GP3 races from Sochi.

Austin Dillon won the NASCAR Grand National Series race from Charlotte. 

Coming Up This Weekend
DTM wraps up their season at Hockenheim.
ELMS crowns champions at Estoril. 
The World Superbike season comes to a close in Qatar.
MotoGP heads to Phillip Island.
NASCAR reaches the halfway mark of the Chase at Kansas.
Super Formula holds their penultimate round of 2015 at Sportsland SUGO.