So the Daytona 500 has come to pass for another year. The excitement of the Great American Race has come and gone. What an interesting day it was for sure on Sunday. We had all the pageantry of opening day for NASCAR’s biggest series, as well as seeing all of our favorite drivers finally hitting the track.
I believe that it was Mike Joy who promised us that rain was at least an hour away at the start of the race. That promise held no water and the heavens opened up for what would be a very lengthy delay. When the day was finally finished, it was fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. taking the checkered flag for his second win in NASCAR’s biggest race.
Here is my problem with entire Sunday thing as it went down. I am personally disgusted with how NASCAR handles rain delays. Was there a window to get the race in, yes I do not contend there was not. We continually heard on Fox how it is about the fans and those who are there that day to see the action. I agree, but I do believe that is only a very small fraction in how NASCAR decides if they are going to postpone a race to the next day because of weather issues.
Think about this if you have never considered it. The race tracks that make up the Sprint Cup series are generally owned by two entities, Speedway Motorsports Incorporated, and International Speedway Corporation. What do these two corporations have in common with each other? Simple answer here, shareholders. Both companies are traded on open markets.
One more question for you, who owns International Speedway Corporation? Basically it is NASCAR that owns ISC. Here is where NASCAR gets into its own sloppy situation. When a race is postponed to the next day, think about the cost that is incurred at the track? The track must bring back ticket takers, housekeeping, security, concessions, etc.. When you have to bring all those people back to work another day, it costs a lot of money. Race fans are not paying extra to show up the next day, their ticket is still good. More revenue is being shelled out, or lost, that makes the bottom line look weak.
In my personal experiences attending races, and I have been to both SMI and ISC tracks, NASCAR will wait much longer at an ISC track before throwing in the towel. That is just my experience, and maybe just my personal perception.
What I will be interested in seeing over the rest of the season is how rain delays are handled going forward. Will NASCAR Wait as long as they did at other tracks later this season if there is rain, or is it really true that Daytona is far more important than any other race? Based on points and such, Daytona is not suppose to be any different than any other race. The only exception is that the race pays a lot more money than any other.
In the end, NASCAR is stuck in a sloppy situation when it comes to rain. I do believe they want to get the race in on the date scheduled. The consideration to keep in mind though is that when the network carrying the race tells you that its about the fans, the truth in the background is that it is more about the money on the ledger sheet than it is about the fans when making that decision.
In case you wondered, SMI (Stock Symbol TRK) had a closing price of $19.03 down $0.23 and ISC (Stock Symbol ISCA) had a closing price of $32.32 down $0.66 on February 25th, 2014.