Kevin Harvick has his own ideas about how to grow NASCAR and it starts with the schedule.
“I believe that some venues need one race (and) that the schedule needs to be mixed up,” Harvick said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. “People like things that change. They don’t like stagnant things. In my opinion the most stagnant thing in our sport is our schedule and our venues that we go to. You can beat a dead horse as much as you want, but it doesn’t come back to life.”
Harvick’s words have meaning, if for no other reason than he has a bully pulpit as the Sprint Cup’s reigning champion. But when he was asked about what changes he’d like to see in the sport, he didn’t hold back.
“Sometimes you just have to change things up to keep the excitement and enthusiasm in the sport. I think our schedule is definitely the weak link along with some of the venues that we go to. That is my opinion.”
Harvick has specific ideas. He thinks there should be a Cup race at Iowa Speedway, a 7/8-mile track that opened in 2006 and has IndyCar and NASCAR Xfinity races now.
“I think everybody wants to see more short tracks,” he said.
Harvick would like to see more road courses, maybe at Montreal or Laguna Seca (Calif.).
Finally, Harvick said adding a wild-card track every year – perhaps chosen randomly during the season-ending awards banquet – would also be a good thing.
“The reaction you get from the market, even if you only have 30,000 or 40,000 people in the grandstands,” Harvick said. “If you put on a good event for TV and do the things that it takes to have a unique event, that is really what people want. They want unique things.”
Harvick said it’s tough for things to change when most tracks are run by one of two racing corporations – International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc. – who have to keep their stockholders happy.
“Two publicly traded companies,” Harvick said. “It’s not that the tracks aren’t putting in an effort, it’s just there needs to be a different type of effort.”
▪ Ty Dillon takes a narrow points lead over Chase Elliott and Chris Buescher into Saturday’s Winn Dixie 300 Xfinity Series race at Talladega. Dillon has 293 points, eight more than Elliott and 11 ahead of Buescher.
Qualifying for the race is at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
▪ Daytona International Speedway expects to have 10,000 wider seats installed near the east end of the speedway in time for July’s Coke Zero 400. An additional 40,000 new seats have already been put in the west end of the speedway and are also part of a $400 million “Daytona Rising” renovation project.
▪ Leavine Family Racing will hold a one-day summer camp at its Concord headquarters on June 6. CAMP 95 will give high school students an insider’s look at NASCAR racing. Applications are due by May 25 and 30 applicants will be accepted: http://www.lfr95.com/camp95.