Chase Elliott Calls for Some NASCAR Schedule Changes

Chase Elliott

Getty Chase Elliott prepares for practice at Bristol Motor Speedway.

NASCAR released the 2023 schedule on September 14. Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott did not take issue with the tracks, but he expressed a desire for some other big changes.

Elliott retweeted the schedule after its release with a very simple, yet cryptic message. He tweeted “Less = more” and “I like night races too.” This obviously created some questions during Elliott’s media availability at Bristol Motor Speedway, and he provided some important context. One of his messages focused on keeping the NASCAR fans from suffering in the hot, August sun.

“There are a lot of Sunday afternoons that we spend in some really hot environments,” Elliott explained on September 16. “Which is fine, I’m good with that. But if I was a fan sitting in the bleachers, I wouldn’t be. For 3.5 hours in August, I would much rather do it at night and enjoy a night race, which number one, I think is really cool. The environment is really neat. This is the best race of the year; here under the lights.

“I also understand that it’s cool because we don’t do it much,” Elliott continued. “But I just think you see a lot of short tracks in places that run Saturday night shows and I think during the summer months, it’s something we should consider doing more of. That’s my opinion, but again, I don’t get asked. I don’t want to get asked and I don’t want that role. Just my humble opinion and that’s really about it.”

There are only a few night races on the 2023 schedule. The confirmed list includes the Bristol dirt race on Easter Sunday, the July race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and the playoff race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Dayton 500 and Coke Zero Sugar 400 could also take place under the lights if there are more weather-related delays.

Elliott Also Questioned Some Late Season Scheduling

Chase Elliott

GettyChase Elliott has some hopes for the NASCAR schedule in the future.

While the addition of more night races was a key point of discussion for Elliott, there was also a discussion about the back half of the schedule. This is the time of year when the playoffs go head-to-head with the start of the NFL and college football seasons.

The trip to Kansas Speedway was a fitting example. The race began in the mid-afternoon right in the middle of Week 1 of the NFL season. The Cup Series drivers headed to the track as the early games neared their end, and they battle for playoff points as the afternoon games began.

“36, 45, 50 — I don’t think it matters how many races we have,” Elliott continued. “But I don’t see any reason in competing against NFL football when that starts. In my opinion, that’s not a battle we’re ever going to win. I think we should be smart about that.”

As Elliott explained, a more compact schedule could help with NASCAR losing these head-to-head battles against the NFL. He doesn’t have the exact ideal setup as far as when to end the NASCAR season, but he has the belief that some adjustments could help with the TV ratings.

These Changes Could Take Place in the Future

There is no indication that NASCAR will take Elliott’s comments into consideration when trying to figure out the 2024 schedule. This answer will not be provided until deep into the 2023 Cup Series season.

The past two NASCAR schedules have not become public until late in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. There were numerous details for Ben Kennedy and the team to work out before they could drop the schedules. The most recent release, in particular, had some new additions in the Chicago street race and the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

There will continue to be questions about the 2024 schedule and Elliott’s comments for the foreseeable future. For now, the regular-season champion will focus on keeping above the elimination line and making it to the Round of 12.

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