Standing pat on start times

NASCAR firm despite conflicts with NFL in fall

February 09, 2011

Don't expect a great deal of change when it comes to NASCAR and its start times.

Although there has been a push from its TV partners to look at shifting starting times, NASCAR is sticking to its mixed bag for the next season. Regular-season points races in the Eastern and Central regions of the country will start at 1 p.m.; West Coast events will begin at 3 p.m.; and night races will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Once the 10-race Chase playoff format kicks in, six of the first seven races will start at 2 p.m. and the last three races, including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will begin at 3 p.m.

Fox Sports Chairman David Hill recently suggested moving starting times in the fall to avoid conflicts with the NFL. That switch would benefit ESPN much more than Fox because ESPN picks up the broadcasts in the second half of the season.

"Why wouldn't you run races on Saturday nights and not against football?" Hill said.

Fox will air the first 13 Sprint Cup races, starting with the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 at 1 p.m. Feb. 20.

Wait and see: Carl Edwards doesn't necessarily agree with his contentious sparring partner Brad Keselowski that Cup drivers double-dipping in the Nationwide series will get more frisky this season now that NASCAR has mandated they can only compete for one championship.

"We're all racing really hard to begin with," Edwards said. "I can say a lot of wild stuff right now, but the bottom line is I get in a race car and you guys see it, we race. I don't know if NASCAR will let us get any wilder. I just got off probation at the end of Homestead. I'll go racing really hard and we'll see what happens."

No spin: While most NASCAR drivers were an echo-chamber of attaboys when it comes to the Chase and the new tweaks, Kyle Busch isn't spinning the corporate line. Asked if he liked the Chase concept during the awards weekend in Las Vegas, he said: "No. Whoever scores the most points in the 36 races wins. That's the way it was forever. I always liked it the way it was."

He then was asked if he thought of making his point with NASCAR officials, including CEO and Chairman Brian France.

"No," he said. "I don't get too far with Brian France."

— George Diaz

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