Could the Sprint All-Star Race start earlier next year?
Could the Sprint All-Star Race have a different starting time next season? Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Monday on “The Morning Drive” that series officials will consider that matter for next year.
O’Donnell also discussed on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio the possible infraction officials are looking at by a member of Jimmie Johnson’s crew during the All-Star race, the early portion of next year’s schedule, and the incident between Brennan Poole and JJ Yeley in Sunday’s Xfinity race.
Saturday’s All-Star race didn’t begin until 9:42 p.m. ET. The second segment took the green flag at 10:02 p.m. The third segment began at 10:23 p.m. The fourth segment started at 10:43 p.m., and the mandatory pit stop before the start of the final pit stop took place at 11:03 p.m.
The event featured no cautions other than the breaks between each segment. Thus, if there had been debris cautions or accidents or such, the start of each segment could have been pushed back significantly.
Here’s what O’Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about the start time for the All-Star race: “I think it is something we want to look at. … I’ve got kids who like watching sports earlier, and I hear the same thing. I think that is something we’ll sit down and address and look at and see if we can’t get it off a little earlier.’’
On NASCAR looking into a member of Johnson’s pit crew modifying the side skirt on his car during the All-Star race, O’Donnell said: “Still evaluating that. If we make a decision to react, it will be on Tuesday. There’s a lot on the line for the All-Star race. It’s not a points race, but we know how much it means to win that race. Hopefully, we don’t have to make the call on this, but we would maintain the rule book throughout the race.’’
On Atlanta requesting a date change for next season and the idea of the series going on its three-race West Coast Swing after the Daytona 500 next year instead of going immediately to Atlanta: “We’re on record that we certainly want to see Atlanta succeed in that spot. We were challenged by weather. For us, it’s really important to stay on the East Coast for the second race, so we liked the way it played out. Certainly a lot of dialogue going on with the tracks and the other promoters, but it’s our intent and we’re hopeful to go from Daytona to an iconic track like Atlanta on the East Coast and then head out West. Still not determined by any means yet.
On the incident between Yeley and Poole during Sunday’s Xfinity race (NASCAR parked Poole during that race for retaliating against Yeley for an earlier incident on the track): “If something happens on track, usually our policy is to warn both drivers that we’re going to be looking at contact between those two. In this case, we saw something that we believed was a move to really take someone out and had to react.’’