NASCAR on Tuesday announced significant changes to the 2020 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES race schedule. Afterward on FS1’s NASCAR RACE HUB, FOX NASCAR analyst Jeff Gordon and FOX NASCAR driver analyst Brad Keselowski offered reaction to the shakeup. Below are their thoughts:
FOX NASCAR ANALYST JEFF GORDON SAYS THE 2020 SCHEDULE CHANGES ARE MORE SUBSTANTIAL THAN HE EXPECTED:
“Wow. This is more significant than I imagined. Moving Bristol into the playoffs, Daytona being the final race to make it into the playoffs, the doubleheader at Pocono. I’m pretty excited. I also like going to the West Coast a little earlier and moving Atlanta, which has been a tough weather date in the past. And Homestead – I like that track – we didn’t have that in the FOX schedule before, and now we do."
FOX NASCAR DRIVER ANALYST BRAD KESELOWSKI WELCOMES THE SHIFT TO LESS INTERMEDIATE TRACKS IN THE PLAYOFFS:
“I like the fact that, overall, the mile-and-a-halves don’t dominate the playoffs. If you look at probably the last decade, the mile-and-a-half tracks really dominated the playoffs. Now, for the championship race and the cut-off races — the majority aren’t mile-and-a-halves. That’s a big change."
KESELOWSKI APPRECIATES THE INDUSTRY COLLABORATION TO MAKE THESE CHANGES:
“This is very much like moving a mountain and maybe even moving Mt. Rushmore. It’s very difficult and a lot of people have high stakes."
GORDON DETAILS THE CHALLENGES OF LANDING ON THE NEW SCHEDULE:
“You know how significant this is and how difficult the challenges. For instance, you have an SMI track that had to give up a few things, but they now have Bristol in the playoffs. There is some significance there. You have the change with Daytona and Indianapolis. I’ve never seen this kind of collaboration."
KESELOWSKI POINTS TO THE TWO OFF WEEKS AS A RECHARGING PERIOD PRIOR TO THE PLAYOFFS:
“There’s one change that really stands out to me and my family – two weeks off at the end of July. That’s going to mean a lot to teams to get reenergized for the playoffs. Those two off weeks, while your kids are out of school, can be a big deal for people in the garage and will help recharge drivers a bit."
GORDON IS THRILLED WITH MARTINSVILLE’S MOVE TO A NIGHT RACE:
“It’s fantastic. Ever since they put lights in and we saw late models go around there, everyone was ready for NASCAR’s premier series to be at Martinsville. It’s going to bring a whole different dynamic to racing. At night, you’re going to see the rotors glow and the sparks flying, and we may even see tempers flaring from inside the cars at night."
KESELOWSKI WELCOMES MARTINSVILLE AS A NIGHT RACE:
“Short tracks under the lights are always better. You can see the cars better, see the sparks, the action a little bit better. With it being the final cut-off race, maybe you’re going to see some more bump-and-runs. Being the leader with a car one car length or less behind you on the last lap – won’t be a good spot to be in for the cut-off at Martinsville."
KESELOWSKI LOVES DAYTONA AS THE FINAL CUT-OFF TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS:
“That’s exactly as it should be. In reality, the people who deserve to make it to the playoffs probably are already going to be locked in before Daytona, so the guys who are on the edge and fighting for it are really going to have their hands full."