The Norman Transcript

National Sports

July 11, 2013

Could NASCAR consider midweek?

(Continued)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

There was a buzz last weekend at Daytona about returning the night race back to its traditional early morning start, when teams were at the track for breakfast and on the beach by lunch. But Gordon believes running the race on July 4, regardless of what day it falls during the week, is a better solution and could start the midweek trend.

“I think July 4th might make sense because everybody is off on that day and looking for something to do,” he said. “Of course, we are not off, but I think that is why it could work.”

Positive Pocono:For years, about the only thing in NASCAR as popular as Dale Earnhardt Jr. was bashing Pocono Raceway.

The track wasn’t safe. The races were too long. The facility was outdated. On and on it went.

But, slowly, the track has won over Sprint Cup drivers with a series of upgrades to the track — everything from additional SAFER barriers to a repave of the 2 1/2-mile surface — that left them raving about the new look the last two years.

Of course, slicing the two Cup races from 500 to 400 miles in 2012 certainly helped.

Pocono Raceway CEO and president Brandon Igdalsky has led the push for the overdue makeover.

“I got tired of people talking bad about us, plain and simple,” he said. “If you have drivers and people in the industry that aren’t talking positive, that translates to what the fans hear and how they react. Last year, drivers started talking about how great things here are now. It changes the mentality of the fans.”

Igdalsky’s latest gamble appears to have paid off: He brought the IndyCar Series back to Pocono after a 24-year absence and the first race last Sunday was considered a success. The grandstands weren’t completely full, but the estimated crowd of 30,000 did exceed most expectations. Unlike the NASCAR stars, IndyCar drivers didn’t have to warm up to Pocono. They loved it from the first test session.

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