NASCAR Sprint Cup series will move to earlier, uniform start times for the 2010 season

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

October 7th, 2009

Nascar Sprint Cup Logo

via press release:

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES EVENTS WILL MOVE TO EARLIER, UNIFORM START TIMES FOR THE 2010 SEASON

Beginning with The Daytona 500 on February 14,

28 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races will begin at an earlier time in 2010

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 7, 2009) – Continuing the sport’s “back to basics” approach, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and its television broadcast partners today announced earlier, uniform start times in  2010 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

NASCAR worked closely with FOX, Turner, ESPN/ABC and the tracks on this project for the fans.  The race start times for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2010 in the eastern and central regions will begin at 1:00pm ET, west coast events will begin at 3:00pm ET, and night races will begin at 7:30pm ET. (The one exception is NASCAR’s longest night race, the Coca-Cola 600, which will have the same 5:45 p.m. ET start time.) Following the invocation and national anthem, the green flag will drop at approximately 15 – 20 minutes past the hour after each stated race event start time.

“NASCAR fans have been asking for earlier and more consistent start times, and we are making this change for our fans, beginning with the Daytona 500 next February," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.  “We are revisiting our sport’s tradition of earlier green flags, and the added consistency will make it easier for fans to know exactly when the races are being televised.  Additionally, the new start times will help track operators get fans in and out of the track earlier in the evening. Many fans heading home from the race earlier will be able to eliminate the costs of an extra travel day.”

A total of 28 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races will be held at an earlier time from 2009 of which 20 races are moved to 1:00pm ET, including the 2010 Daytona 500.  (Moving up the start of “The Great American Race” 2.5 hours will bring the earliest start time for the Daytona 500 since 2003, when the race was also scheduled for 1 p.m.) Five races move earlier to the 3pm ET start and three races start earlier at 7:30pm ET.

In making the decision for earlier, more uniform start times, NASCAR consulted its Fan Council, comprised of 12,000 avid fans who serve as a sounding board on important topics. Half of NASCAR avid fans said they are often unclear about what time NASCAR races actually start.  When given the chance to choose a start time, more than two-thirds of avid NASCAR fans preferred early Sunday afternoon.

“It’s become clear to us that traditional, early Sunday afternoon, start times are favored by NASCAR fans who both attend races and watch on television,” said FOX Sports Chairman David Hill.  “NASCAR, perhaps more than any other sport, belongs to the generations of fans who have passed on their passion, father to son, mother to daughter, so whatever we can do to make them feel better connected to the sport they love should be done.”

“Many fans have been interested in standard start times for NASCAR’s television partners.  In the long term, we believe this change will make the viewing experience better for everyone,” said David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting's distribution, sales and sports.  “NASCAR races continue to deliver solid, consistent ratings for TNT.  When you combine TV ratings to the number of people who visit NASCAR.com, the sport clearly remains very healthy and popular.”

"We enthusiastically support consistent start times and are happy to have worked with NASCAR on this move," said John Skipper, ESPN's Executive Vice President, Content. "We are thrilled about our position with NASCAR and bullish about the long-term prospects."

“An earlier starting time for the Daytona 500 is great news for our race fans,” Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. “In recent years, race fans made their desire very clear for an earlier starting time.  With the help of our partners in the sport at NASCAR and FOX Sports, we’re proud to deliver an earlier starting time for the 2010 Daytona 500.”

“This is a very positive move for our fans,” said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager for New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  “For example, it allows us another hour of daylight to run our races and to get traffic out before nightfall.  Based on the letters I receive from fans, I know they will appreciate NASCAR making this change.  For years, the NFL has been very successful with its standardized start times of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.  You never have to guess when their games start on Sunday.  I think that same template will help our sport as well.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races will be seen on either FOX, TNT, ESPN or ABC.  The 2010 television schedule for points races is below.

2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule with Start Times (All times Eastern)

Date         Day          Race Site Network                                     Race         Start Time

14-Feb   Sun.        Daytona 500                                            FOX        1:00 PM

21-Feb   Sun.        Auto Club Speedway                             FOX        3:00 PM

28-Feb   Sun.        Las Vegas Motor Speedway                FOX        3:00 PM

7-Mar      Sun.        Atlanta Motor Speedway                       FOX        1:00 PM

21-Mar    Sun.        Bristol Motor Speedway                        FOX        1:00 PM

28-Mar    Sun.        Martinsville Speedway                           FOX        1:00 PM

10-Apr    Sat.         Phoenix International Raceway             FOX        7:30 PM

18-Apr    Sun.        Texas Motor Speedway                         FOX        1:00 PM

25-Apr    Sun.        Talladega Superspeedway                   FOX        1:00 PM

1-May     Sat.         Richmond International Raceway          FOX        7:30 PM

8-May     Sat.         Darlington Raceway                               FOX        7:30 PM

16-May   Sun.        Dover International Speedway              FOX        1:00 PM

30-May   Sun.        Lowe's Motor Speedway                       FOX        5:45 PM

6-Jun       Sun.        Pocono Raceway                                   TNT         1:00 PM

13-Jun    Sun.        Michigan International Speedway         TNT         1:00 PM

20-Jun    Sun.        Infineon Raceway                                    TNT         3:00 PM

27-Jun    Sun.        New Hampshire Motor Speedway        TNT         1:00 PM

3-Jul        Sat.         Daytona International Speedway          TNT         7:30 PM

10-Jul      Sat.         Chicagoland Speedway                        TNT         7:30 PM

25-Jul      Sun.        Indianapolis Motor Speedway               ESPN     1:00 PM

1-Aug      Sun.        Pocono Raceway                                   ESPN     1:00 PM

8-Aug      Sun.        Watkins Glen International                     ESPN     1:00 PM

15-Aug   Sun.        Michigan International Speedway         ESPN     1:00 PM

21-Aug   Sat.         Bristol Motor Speedway                        ESPN     7:30 PM

5-Sep     Sun.        Atlanta Motor Speedway                       ESPN     7:30 PM

11-Sep   Sat.         Richmond International Raceway          ABC        7:30 PM

19-Sep   Sun.        New Hampshire Motor Speedway        ABC        1:00 PM

26-Sep   Sun.        Dover International Speedway              ABC        1:00 PM

3-Oct       Sun.        Kansas Speedway                                 ABC        1:00 PM

10-Oct    Sun.        Auto Club Speedway                             ABC        3:00 PM

16-Oct    Sat.         Lowe's Motor Speedway                       ABC        7:30 PM

24-Oct    Sun.        Martinsville Speedway                           ABC        1:00 PM

31-Oct    Sun.        Talladega Superspeedway                   ABC        1:00 PM

7-Nov      Sun.        Texas Motor Speedway                         ABC        1:00 PM

14-Nov    Sun.        Phoenix International Raceway             ABC        3:00 PM

21-Nov    Sun.        Homestead-Miami Speedway              ABC        1:00 PM

 
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