Chase Elliott has requested some schedule changes.
NASCAR released the 2023 schedule on Sept. 14. Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott had no problem with the tracks, but expressed his desire for other big changes.
Elliott retweeted the schedule after its release with a very simple but cryptic message. He tweeted “Less = more” and “I also like night racing.” Obviously, this generated some questions during Elliott’s media availability at Bristol Motor Speedway and provided important context. One of his messages focused on keeping NASCAR fans from suffering in the August sun.
“There are a lot of Sunday afternoons that we spend in really hot environments,” Elliott explained on Sept. 16. “Which is fine, I’m fine with that. But if I were a fan sitting in the bleachers, I wouldn’t be. For 3.5 hours in August, I’d rather do it at night and enjoy a night race, which first of all, I think is really cool. The atmosphere is really neat. This is the best race of the year; here under the lights.
“I also understand it’s cool because we don’t do it a lot,” Elliott continued. “But I think you see a lot of short tracks at places that put on 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 be asked and I don’t want that role. Just my humble opinion and that’s really it.”
There are only a few night races on the 2023 calendar. 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 further weather-related delays.
Elliott also questioned some late-season schedules.
Chase Elliott has some hopes for NASCAR’s schedule going forward.
While the addition of more night races was a key point of discussion for Elliott, there was also discussion about the back half of the schedule. This is the time of year when the playoffs go hand-in-hand with the start of the college soccer and NFL seasons.
The trip to Kansas Speedway was a good example. The race started mid-afternoon right in the middle of Week 1 of the NFL season. The Cup Series drivers headed to the track as the first games drew to a close, and battled for playoff points as the afternoon games began.
“36, 45, 50 – I don’t think it matters how many runs we get,” Elliott continued. “But I don’t see any reason to compete against NFL soccer when that starts. In my opinion, that’s not a battle we’re going to win. I think we should be smart about it.”
As Elliott explained, a more compact schedule could help NASCAR lose these head-to-head battles against the NFL. He doesn’t have the exact ideal setup as to when NASCAR’s season will end, but he believes some adjustments could help with 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 determine the 2024 schedule. That response will not be provided until well into the 2023 Cup Series season.
NASCAR’s last two schedules were not made public until late in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. There were numerous details that Ben Kennedy and the team had to work out before they could release 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 staying above the elimination line and reaching the Round of 16.