LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Kyle Busch usually wakes up around 8 a.m. or so on race day and just waits until he's needed for a meet-and-greet before he slips into the No. 18 Toyota.
But if he's up, he may as well as qualify before lunch. And if he wins the pole, well, he may as well go win the race.
Busch was the biggest benefactor in NASCAR's decision to try a reduced weekend Cup schedule at Pocono Raceway. NASCAR ditched the traditional practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and drivers made their run at the pole just a few hours before the start of Sunday's race. Busch won the pole and won a race for the first time this season.
"I wouldn't mind more days like that," Busch said. "With my Xfinity and Truck efforts getting cut back more and more each year, that's going to be more Fridays at home with my son. That's going to be more fun for us drivers."
NASCAR will try the two-day show again this week at Watkins Glen and Oct. 29 at Martinsville.
Pocono threw an infield fan festival on Friday night and a solid crowd turned out to watch Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell have fun participating in lip sync battles, cooking showdowns and the like.
Watkins Glen is holding its own fan fest and a country music concert Friday night.
The real benefit to the skinny schedule is that teams can save money and spend more time at home. The cash and days off add up over the course of one of the more grueling schedules in sports. Plus, it's hardly worth it for tracks to open the gates anymore on Fridays to draw a crowd not much larger than a minor league baseball game.
Here is the real reason.
Kyle Larson, the top young driver in the sport, lost Target last week as his sponsor in 2018. Kenseth, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne are among the drivers with uncertain futures because of various sponsor issues. With TV ratings and attendance flatlining, teams are struggling to put together multiyear deals with a committed corporate backer that will fund the program
"I think the traditional model is going to go extinct soon, and it could be argued that it's here right now," 2012 champion Brad Keselowski said. "The traditional model (of just) being a consumer brand sponsor that just wants to see a car out there with their name out it will go extinct in the next couple years. That's not always a bad thing. There's other models that work and have proven to be successful."
Let me clue you corporate whores at NASCAR in to a little secret.
People want to see real racing.
I know, who'da thunk it, right?
We don't like having the rules twisted so that all we ever see are 200 mph parades.
Go back to run what ya brung, let the talent speak for itself and back the fuck away from the feminization of a traditionally male dominated sport targeting a predominantly male audience.
It's that fucking simple you morons.