Is SMART open all night? It would seem so, based on the number of cars and the time until the next race.
What’s more, there are now 24 hours of motorsport action available each day, instead of just 12 back in the day. This is thanks in part to the advent of DST and daylight saving time, which began in the US in the early 1900s and has now been adopted by several other countries. In fact, more and more tracks are opening up in the afternoon, which makes the question of whether or not to stop for a cup of coffee all the more relevant.
Are The Rows Of Standees Still Relevant?
There is no question that the spectacle of watching cars go by while you stand in the way is part of what drew people to motor racing in the first place. Whether you’re at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or anywhere else, the sound of engines reverberating off of metal and asphalt while you watch races go by is an all-time favorite. It’s what made NASCAR the nation’s largest sport, for example.
But today, the relevance of the stands is debatable. Although we still see lots of fans in the stands at every race, it’s hard to say whether or not they’re just there to watch the cars go by, as opposed to engaging with other attendees, eating, drinking, and enjoying the show.
Certainly, there are plenty of examples of where the stands are still beneficial. Take the case of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, which gets particularly cramped during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in August. The open-air layout there, which features rows of stadium-style seating, makes for some exceptional photo opportunities.
But even at a place as iconic as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the question of whether or not to stand and/or sit during a race is a challenging one. The stands at IMS are iconic too, but it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where you wouldn’t find a more comfortable seat in the building, particularly on a day with no precipitation, wind, or cold temperatures.
Are Cup Series Drivers Still Relevant?
The big news story this year is that NASCAR is now comprised of multiple tiers, with the top-tier series known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Twelve drivers will compete for the championship title in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this year, which is a massive increase from the six drivers that competed in the equivalent series last year.
There’s a reason for this, of course. The top-tier series used to be known as the Winston Cup, which was named after the popular NASCAR driver, and the series used to be points-based. The goal was to give the lower-tier series an opportunity to climb up the rankings and qualify for bigger prizes, provided they finished in the top-five in their respective division. That system still exists, but the modern form of the top-tier series is based on the fan-favorite Chase, which was first introduced in 2015.
The change is a major one, both in terms of the amount of prize money and the size of the fields. And although the number of races has increased, from 17 to 22, the number of Cup drivers has not. In fact, the top-tier series has a smaller field than it has had in years.
The Future Of Motorsport
It seems clear that the future of motorsport is digital. We’re already seeing lots of innovation in the form of driver-assist cars, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, which are being used to make races safer and more enjoyable. And the list goes on.
Although we’re still at the very early stages of automated vehicles and digital innovations, it’s clear that they’ll play an important role in the future of motorsport. As a result, the question of whether or not to stand and watch a race is less important than it could be, because the cars will be doing all the work for you, while you just sit back and enjoy the show.