Kevin Harvick Wins At Darlington In NASCAR’s Return To Racing Sunday

Holly Cain

NASCAR Wire Service

Kevin Harvick celebrates victory following the Real Heroes 400 Sunday at Darlington Raceway (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR’s return to real-time action Sunday afternoon was a resumption of the close-quarter, high-action brand of racing that fans have long expected at historic Darlington Raceway, culminating with Kevin Harvick claiming his first trophy of the season in front of a robust television and radio audience eager to welcome sports back.

The Real Heroes 400 was the first on-track activity in nearly two months after NASCAR suspended competition because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The return to track included specific guidelines unique to this unprecedented situation – no fans in the grandstands, temperature checks at track, a limit on number of team members and of course, social distancing.

The competitive drama, however, remained as intense as ever.

Harvick’s 2.154-second victory over Alex Bowman was his first of the season and extends his points lead in the standings to 28 points over Bowman. His only previous win at Darlington came from pole position in 2014, the same year Harvick went on to win the series championship. Sunday’s victory was the 50th win for the Stewart-Haas Racing veteran, tying him with NASCAR Hall of Famers Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett on the NASCAR Cup Series all-time wins list.

Bowman, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin followed Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to the finish line. Martin Truex Jr., Tyler Reddick, Erik Jones, John Hunter Nemechek and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 10. It was the best showing of the season – and first top-10 finish – for the rookies Reddick and Nemechek.

“The first thing I want to do is thank everybody from NASCAR, all the teams, the whole industry, for getting us back on the racetrack,” Harvick said. “I think everybody in this garage is so excited to be here. I was up this morning at 6:00 a.m. pacing around my porch trying to decide when I was going to leave. I was excited to get back in the car. Today was just a well-executed day.”

NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said he was both proud and encouraged by the success of NASCAR’s first race back on track – and hopeful it bodes well for a compressed schedule that will feature 20 more races between now and the third week of June at a variety of venues for all three of NASCAR’s premier series – the NASCAR Cup Series, the Xfinity Series and the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.

“As far as the vibe in the garage area, I think everyone’s spirits were really, really high,” O’Donnell said. “They all knew the effort that this took collectively to pull this off. This was not easy, but everybody came together in a real spirit of collaboration. It was odd just with limited number of people here and when you look up into the stands, you certainly miss the fans, that vibe, that energy.

“I think the participants were able to create their own positive vibe knowing this was a big day for the sport, knowing it was a day we could showcase the sport to a live television audience and hopefully give some people a little bit of joy to watch them race.”

As good as the situation was at the track “behind the scenes,” the drivers turned in a typically competitive day on-track with consistent drama – and depending on who you cheer for, some for the good and some not-so-much.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, for example, was leading and headed for the victory in the race’s first stage when he collided with Chris Buescher a half-lap before crossing the finish line to claim the opening stage win.

“Gosh, what I would do to get that corner back to do it over again,” Johnson said. “Coming to the end of the stage, I was just trying to make sure I got a good run off of Turn 2. I felt like I was going to be able to exit the corner side-by-side with him, things just went horribly wrong there.

And he added later on his Twitter social media account, “Man, that hurts. What a bummer. But there’s a race in a few days and we’ll be back.”

That was the case for two of NASCAR’s most popular drivers who marked a return to competition on Sunday – Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Matt Kenseth. Both made their way into the top 10 by the race’s midpoint. Newman, who missed three races after being injured in the Daytona 500, earned points in the opening stage and finished 15th – after receiving a pit road speeding penalty. Kenseth, who made his first NASCAR Cup Series start since the 2018 Homestead-Miami season finale, finished 10th.

Both were racey and their competitive presence well-noted.

“Overall, great to be back in the race car, proud of how everybody worked, not just our team, but everyone in NASCAR to break the ice on getting the world back in motion,” Newman said.

Kenseth’s effort was also duly noted.

“Here’s the thing about Matt Kenseth, he should have never quit,” race winner Harvick said when asked about the veteran’s return.

“Matt Kenseth was winning races when he retired. Matt Kenseth is going to be a huge part of that race team and making Chip Ganassi Racing better. He’s going to be great for the sponsors.”

Harvick, who drew the first position on pit road, benefitted from the location and ultimately credited his work to a team that has helped him to top 10s in the last seven years at Darlington – nine of those top-five performances. After his win, Harvick stood in front of the empty grandstand and gave thanks to Dr. Josh Hughes, whose name appeared on Harvick’s car as part of NASCAR’s tribute to medical personnel who have so tirelessly worked during this pandemic.

“I’m just really honored and really thankful for all of our front-line workers, not only our doctors but grocery stores, truck drivers, fire fighters, police departments – you name it,” Harvick said. “All of you front-line workers are the reason that we’re here today and our country is actually still running.”

Next up for the NASCAR Cup Series is Wednesday night’s Toyota 500 at Darlington (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

NASCAR Cup Series Race – The Real Heroes 400

Darlington Raceway

Darlington, South Carolina

Sunday, May 17, 2020

  1. (6)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 293.

  2. (2)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 293.

  3. (22)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 293.

  4. (11)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 293.

  5. (10)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 293.

  6. (15)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 293.

  7. (29)  Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 293.

  8. (20)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 293.

  9. (34)  John Hunter Nemechek #, Ford, 293.

  10. (12)  Matt Kenseth, Chevrolet, 293.

  11. (16)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 293.

  12. (5)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 293.

  13. (1)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 293.

  14. (3)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 293.

  15. (21)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 293.

  16. (7)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 293.

  17. (13)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 293.

  18. (9)  Joey Logano, Ford, 293.

  19. (33)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 293.

  20. (25)  Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 293.

  21. (17)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 293.

  22. (14)  Cole Custer #, Ford, 293.

  23. (31)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 293.

  24. (28)  Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 293.

  25. (37)  Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 292.

  26. (4)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 292.

  27. (35)  Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 292.

  28. (30)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 291.

  29. (36)  Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 291.

  30. (32)  Joey Gase(i), Ford, 289.

  31. (19)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 289.

  32. (24)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 287.

  33. (38)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 286.

  34. (40)  Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 286.

  35. (18)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 279.

  36. (27)  Quin Houff #, Chevrolet, Electrical, 137.

  37. (26)  Garrett Smithley #, Chevrolet, Power Steering, 127.

  38. (8)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Accident, 89.

  39. (39)  BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 13.

  40. (23)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 0.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  115.815 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 27 Mins, 21 Secs. Margin of Victory:  2.154 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  10 for 57 laps.

Lead Changes:  10 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   B. Keselowski 1-44;A. Bowman 45-80;J. Johnson 81-89;W. Byron 90-92;A. Bowman 93;K. Harvick 94-174;J. Yeley(i) 175;B. Keselowski 176-188;A. Bowman 189-192;B. Keselowski 193-215;K. Harvick 216-293.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kevin Harvick 2 times for 159 laps; Brad Keselowski 3 times for 80 laps; Alex Bowman 3 times for 41 laps; Jimmie Johnson 1 time for 9 laps; William Byron 1 time for 3 laps; JJ Yeley(i) 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 24,11,88,4,2,10,14,8,6,9

Stage #2 Top Ten: 2,88,19,4,14,1,37,22,11,20


  1. Decent race. Looked like everyone came close setup wise 24 cars finished on the lead lap. Very few wrecks. Fox Sports gets the award for social distancing, with their broadcast team downsized, and spread across the country. NASCAR put forth a great example for other forms of racing to follow.

  2. Bobf ( formally just bob) says

    Just an opinion. . Racing.
    Hey, we all have opinions. We all can think this was right, or this was wrong. Entitled to your opinions.
    Well, i think, it was, socially distanced. Correct protocols. For right reasons.
    I think it was safe, and happy to see it. Did anyone make money? Not sure, but happy to see cars, on a track, even if full fendered! ( joke sheldon, wish it was modifieds!)
    We are in a crisis pandemic. I will not make light of that. But morale wise, I think this was very good.
    Beat me if you want, but I watched the race for a sense of normalcy. I was not in stands. And nascar made sure nobody else wasn’t either. Just sayin. All i can do is hope it helps morale, and nobody was put in harms way.

    That aside , preece still 20th. Well, he finished ahead of stenthouse i guess.
    Doug? Im still here to talk racing. Don’t care to get into all the health issues.
    But , That said,
    I know how serious this pandemic is. I so appreciate all our front line workers on this, and mourn for all the people who have been directly affected by this pandemic. I pray for them.
    I dont take this lightly, not one bit.
    Point? For me, a little guilt about feeling good, Watching a race, while knowing people are suffering with this curse. But, it sure was fun to see cars on a track. Not electronically, but real time.
    Reality check?
    Its going to take time.
    Some people will do the right thing and err on the side of caution, and others will say “you cant tell me”, and do whatever they want to do. Human nature. Their right. No matter who they politically support. Right or wrong. Sometimes, minds are just made up. Just a fact. No matter how many facts they may be presented with.
    I love this site. We all get to say, pretty much, what we want to.
    Cant get that everywhere these days.
    Thank you Shawn.
    I hope and pray all your loved ones are safe. We will get through this no matter who is in charge, as we are stubborn, and eventually, all talk will be about racing! (Hopefully)
    Like i said when i started, just an opinion. I also said “beat me “ if you want, so i guess I’m wIde open, let the beating commence! I’m ready for it! Fair warning, i don’t have a big ego so,….
    Be safe everyone, and hey, if it feels wrong, then just dont do it!
    Doug? Waiting for some racing-preece/ modified opinions! I’ll start..i still think he can make it, but time running out. Will buy you many beers if he wins with jtg racing. (Will come to you if he does) Jmo.
    Seriously, be safe, hope all is good with all CT nation followers.
    BobF (formally just Bob)

  3. “Beat me if you want, but I watched the race for a sense of normalcy. I was not in stands. And nascar made sure nobody else wasn’t either. Just sayin. All i can do is hope it helps morale, and nobody was put in harms way.”
    Beat you? More like kiss you. That’s exactly the feeling I got. Some kind of normalcy. Nothing was really normal about everything surrounding the event but the racing was normal. I got goose bumps on the start. Seeing current safely protocols being used by people many look to for queues was very good to see.
    Preece finished 7th in the second segment and came out 12th. That was a disappointment. He floated around 13th to 15th and finishes 20th. Last years Darlington finish was 22 so it’s a modest improvement.
    I don’t have the same perspective as you Bobf. My view is there are a lot of good cars in that top 20. To run where Preece did in a competitive fashion is a step forward in my view. I can’t say you’re wrong about time running out just hoping it’s not the case. He’s ranked 30th now. Suffice it to say he needs solid finishes and to be competitive. Darlington was a start in my view.
    Great post Bobf. Just outstanding. You put everything in perspective and set the standard for insightful, well mannered commentary many of us could try to emulate a little more often.

  4. Nice job NASCAR. GREAT job with the masks. That pissed off Trump because he complained that things can not be “back to normal” while wearing masks. The guy is a relentless illusionist. He wants to create the illusion that COVID-19 is gone and we are back to normal. All those masks was a very nice way for NASCAR to say 🖕 to Trump. Trump refuses to wear a mask. NASCAR understands that if this doesn’t work, if a COVID-19 case results from this, it gets shutdown until the pandemic is over (per the declaration of the scientists) and a vaccine is available. The liability is HUGE.

    Understand this… if anybody gets sick from this event, this fanless racing will get shut down, and that will cause all others to forget thinking about operating.

    I was surprised that pit stops allowed crew to get close, as in shoulder to shoulder.

    It was awesome seeing all the masks, even Harvick in VL. That was awesome.

    And they do it again on Wednesday!!!

    Folks, the next 2 or 3 months won’t be as bad as Mar-Apr, there are a couple hotspots, but one thing is scary and ominous… the experts are all saying it is going to get very bad in the fall, far worse than we saw in March and April. How well we social distance now and suppress the pathogen 🦠 will determine the extent of that outbreak.

  5. Bobf, I forgot to say earlier… well said.

    Just ignore Cybil, Sybil, Doug, RickInMass, WeldingWonders, JD and all the other ankle biters.

  6. RickyinMass says

    you smart dureel. u me robpee hope al racis chut dowen. normel bad. hope mor get sick. get more votes for byden. beet trump.

  7. Fast Eddie says

    Great comment by Jeff Gordon about Preece. Sorry I don’t have it exactly, but basically he said Preece drove Modifieds, a lot of rubber and a lot of power. “If you can drive a Modified, you can drive just about anything.”

  8. Slapnuts says

    Dadope says well said to Bob who just wants to talk racing and not political bs. Wow!!! Every post you make bashes Trump but let’s keep it about racing huh? Special piece of work you are!!

  9. Fast Eddie, I heard that too. You can hear it the voices of the announcers that they are hoping that Preece gets in some much better equipment. Right now, Preece just isn’t being challenged. Drivers get the most they can out of the cars, and that’s all the car he’s got.

  10. Fast Eddie says

    Overall I thought Preece didn’t do bad, he was in the top 10-12 through a good portion of the second stage. For his limited track time at Darlington, with no practice, he was in the top half of the finishing order. I know, it was the bottom of the top half, but the top half is still the top half.

  11. “Fox Sports earned a 3.7 rating and 6.3 million viewers for Sunday’s The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway.
    The race was the most-watched non-Daytona race since March 2017.”

    Clearly the pent up viewer demand inflated the viewership numbers. If that’s the case can a streamed tour modified event with no crowd that is promoted properly actually generate subscriptions at a level the could be a money maker? The verdict may still be out on that.

  12. Bobf ( formally just bob) says

    To your point Doug, I have thought a bit about this same thing. I thought, wouldn’t it be nice, if a pay per veiw could be set up for true fans to support the local tracks that the tour runs on. Is it possible, or even feasible, that tracks like Stafford, Riverhead, Thompson, Seekonk, well, you get the drift, have a “one off “ here, where tv pay per view would work? No one gets rich this year, but tracks make enough to pay some taxes, and stay afloat, and maybe live to fight another day. Enough to to have a valid purse for owners to run. Sure, a patchwork experiment at best, but this pandemic is not only taking a human toll, but I fear a venue toll as well. ( I am not saying the value of one is more than the other here, but I think you probably know what I mean). Is it feasible? Could it be pulled off? I know I’d buy it. Maybe it’s too late. I fear that developers are salivating at the mere thought of some these tracks being on the ropes, and ripe for picking. My thought, if this was at all possible, would it have significant benefits for all?. It would certainly keep people socially distant. Just like yesterday, no one in stands. If promoters aren’t greedy and see big picture, it would hopefully help keep some local venues in tact. It would hopefully give some smaller local tracks some sort of revenue to help get through this unprecedented year. Sure, Nascar can pull this off with the “premier series”, for now anyway, because of deeper pockets, national exposures, and tv contracts. But how about the local venues? I don’t see any Nascar help there. So Doug, no one gets anything near rich, but maybe survives for next year. I don’t think this a far fetched idea at all! While I am not even remotely suggesting that tv is as good as going to a live modified event, it sure would be a possible help. However, if something at all could be pulled off to help local tracks, car owners, the money I spend per year going to tracks, buying tickets, beer, ect, I’d gladly spend this year on a tv support deal for these guys. Probably a pipe dream of mine at this point though. The time it takes to make this happen would be a big issue. But heh, you never know!

  13. I just don’t see why it can’t be done. A TTOMS race at a track in New Hampshire. No fans or limits on fans plus streaming. Speed51 was going to do it anyway. There is the issue of teams, track employees and vendors feeling safe. I’m not talking about next weekend. At some point as we progress through the spring and summer months as infections decrease and we get a better feel for how successful using best safety practices works in preventing the plaque from spreading. . Streaming typically does not focus on commercials but why not them as well as a revenue stream. You’re right. No one gets rich but maybe some people can make a few bucks to pay their fixed costs and stave off worse consequences.

  14. Doug,

    I think what you have to realize is that in most areas of the country the costs outweigh the return when it comes to pay-per-view streaming for almost all grass roots racing. The companies producing it and distributing it charge a very hefty price to do it. In most instances when you’ve seen these pay-per-view options available for events they’re typically for two unique types of situations. One, where you have an event that has true national appeal, like say the Snowball Derby. The type of event where you know your audience is likely potentially in the thousands. The second is an event where the promoters are fairly confident that they’re going to make enough money on site, and the pay-per-view option is essentially gravy. A chance to make a little extra, but if it breaks even or loses a little it’s not a big deal because you know the on-site profit will be solid so it’s gambling on a possible added revenue bonus. Because of the up front expense charged just to get the show off the ground and distributed, I don’t know that the economical model of a pay-per-view show with no fans is a truly viable option for any tracks or divisions in the Northeast right now. So let’s look at it this way. Let’s say government restrictions allow you to put on an event with no fans. First off, there will almost certainly be restrictions on the number of people allowed in the pit area. So right off the bat you’re starting off with no grandstand ticket revenue and more than likely a greatly reduced back gate entry revenue because the number of people allowed in the back gate will be limited. There’s probably little hope you’d be able to even come close to covering the cost of the purse through the back gate revenue. Next, you’ve lost a good portion of your food concession revenue without fans, and maybe all of it if there are further government restrictions that don’t allow food concessions for the people there. And you’ve lost 100 percent of alcohol sales revenues by only having the pits open. Next, you’re going to have added expenses because certainly there will be restrictions/guidelines put in place that will force you to do things you didn’t have to do before. Like you’ll probably have to purchase disinfectant stations or put in place restrictive barriers on sign-in booths or other vendor areas that would be open. So just to get the gates open and get cars at the track is likely going to be a losing proposition. And then there’s the question of pricing structure for a pay-per-view when you’ve never done it before or have no idea what you’re market might even be. Making the projections on how to set that pricing number would be an absolute roll of the dice. Who knows what you’re going to get for interest even at a minimal cost? I’d be willing to argue that if you have a series that typically draws say 6,000 people to an event, you’d probably be lucky to get at least 1,000 of those people to buy into your pay per view even at a relatively low cost. I think for the most part short track racing fans are drawn to the sport in a big part for the sensory stimulation of the event. The sounds, seeing the cars up close, the smells, the conversations you can hear in the pits. And I also think one of the biggest factors for a lot of people is being at the track with others. The human contact. The sharing of the experience with other fans. All things a pay-per-view show can’t offer. I know on paper a lot of people right now are just screaming for tracks to do pay-per-view events. But I think in a lot of instances they are the same people that will also tell you that race tracks shouldn’t make money, that they should just be in business to break even and support the sport.

  15. Clearly no one has a greater exposure to local racing then you Mr. Courcshesne so that is very discouraging to hear. Even more discouraging because you laid out such an extensive laundry list of why it could never happen. Particularly the fact that so few of we fans in the Northeast would simply not be interested in a pay-per-view offering even if the visceral experience of going to the races was unavailable. Yes all that lost revenue would need to be recovered with subscriptions and if no one is signing up the whole thing is a non starter.
    I should think somewhere there is data on this. Perhaps NBC Sports Gold knowing how many people in what region tuned into the New Smyrna World Series. Maybe Speed51 knows having streamed TTOMS Seekonk races with the blackout zone. Perhaps they know as you do Shawn it would be an utterly futile and expensive exercise.
    I’ll consider that the last word on the topic for now hoping only that you could be wrong. You may have dashed my hope but being informed is certainly better then carrying around false hope and yammering on about it endlessly.
    Now if you would be so kind to address one other thing I’ve been wondering about. Stafford made a generic statement about there being racing eventually at the track. No promises but they don’t tend to say things that are ill considered so the statement was notable. My question is this. If there is racing at Stafford this year have you considered how you will cover it and what changes you would make given the circumstances? Is it a done deal or is it a game day decision based on the protocols and safety measures Stafford or any track for that matter stipulate and the risk you see at the time? Getting the pulse of the race, interviewing drivers and track officials. Are you in the press box or seek more wide open seating? Is it business as usual with a mask and hand sanitizer or do you dial the roaming of the paddock back and concentrate more on the racing action and get the individual stories via phone later?
    Thanks again for straightening me out of streaming.

  16. Shawn, most excellent post. Especially the part about the sensory experience of being there. Doug doesn’t go to the track and therefore can’t understand that. TV does not do the sounds justice at all. The night races at Thompson under the lights are pure Americana. No PPV TV coverage is going to capture that experience, you have to be there. This is why I was looking forward to going to Iowa for the mods.

  17. Doug,
    I can’t speak for what the management of Stafford Speedway knows at this point. All I can say is that I’ve not seen any indication from the governor in Connecticut that restrictions on crowds will be lifted anytime soon. That said, I remain at least optimistic that at some point there could be some hope this season. I think that’s probably the same optimism held by management at Stafford Speedway and other venues.
    As far as your question about the “What If’s” for me if events were to take place at Connecticut venues this year? Yes, I would hope to be allowed to be on site to cover events if they took place. Right now, I don’t think I can fairly speak for all the details about how I would go about that, or what would be different about how I covered an event today in comparison to pre-pandemic days. I’m certain there would be a lot of things different though.

  18. Thanks for the excellent explanation Shawn.
    I’m an electrician. It’s always amazed me how non-licensed people know more about electrical work than I. Point taken.
    The infrastructure and back story your insight gave me, makes me realize, it’s not doable.
    The old saying, “heart’s in the right place but…” probably applies here to me, on the streaming topic, I guess. Like most dedicated short track fans, I think the ramifications of this pandemic’s human toll aside, will also take an irreversible toll on venues, that may not survive this. I know speaking solely for me, I was trying to think outside the box with Doug. Thanks for the education and insight. B

  19. I would pay- per-view for a race like the musket 250, but that’s about it.
    I live Stafford Speedway, spent every Friday furring racing season there for most of my adult life so far. But, I don’t think Stafford could pull off a successful PPV event, without losing money.
    We all know, that when racing does start, it will be with great restrictions. If a track owner or promotor is told they can operate, but only at 25% capacity, some may decide it’s not even worth opening, knowing they’d be losing money every time. In the pits, at 25% capacity, even if you limit crews to 4 people plus the driver, 5 people total, your still gonna have to limit cars. How do you do it? Do you eliminate a division? Do you take cars from each division? How would you do it?
    I still hold hope that we will see racing. If we do it’ll be a short season at best, considering a predicted second stronger wave in the fall. I know if we do race, it will be with allot if things different. But, at least we’d be racing

  20. I contacted Speed51 hoping to get information that may be informative on streaming races in the Northeast. They were very quick to respond but predictably unwilling to give any indication of the financial viability of a fanless race based on their past streaming experiences with TTOMS races. All they would say is it’s possible to have a fanless, streamed race. The track would need to contact them, they’d study it, work with the track to see if it’s viable. That pretty much didn’t shed any light on the topic at all.
    Selfishly I have and will continue to look hard at streaming and hope the growth and accessibility continues to expand. I don’t believe I’m the only one disconnected from regional tracks because of age, working schedule, distance or the like that is more then willing to pay a subscription to see a race that we are unable to attend. If race fans are older how is it not a natural to keep them connected and paying via streaming? Sure races are a visceral experience. If the point is that I don’t understand that then it would be an incorrect assumption. Racing is better live but that does not mean that the second best option which is streaming won’t be a huge part of the sport in the future.
    Live racing is a social experience. Maybe not so much for some as others. For race teams it’s not only a social experience it’s a way of life that dominates every aspect of a persons life. Not only the racing season but the entire year dominated by the rhythms of racing. I’ve never been a track owner, official, announcer or race reporter but I’d guess the same kind of social connection is a huge part of their lives as well. Fan’s, I don’t know. A social occasion or a clanish occasion. To enjoy racing you need to know the participants otherwise it’s just colors and noise flashing by. Do people go to a loud race primarily to see and interact with others that enjoy the same thing or is it about the races whether you are by yourself of with your clan? I’m not sold on the social thing being dominant with fans.You can enjoy racing with your clan anywhere there is a live race or streamed event.
    I like to incorporate some kind of data to make my case but am shooting blanks. It’s just not available to the public. However NASCAR experimenting with Fanschoice then going full on subscription isn’t nothing. Speed51 with a huge menu of streamed races via subscription isn’t nothing and they do not all have national appeal. I’m seeing fanless dirt races streamed with full programs that I know nothing about but they aren’t nothing either.
    Team safety at tracks is a given. Employee and vendor safety is a given. Streamed or live it’s a moot point. If you can’t achieve that there is no point being optimistic about any racing this year.
    I don’t accept that a TTOMS fanless race at a New Hampshiire would only garner 1000 subscriptions. The price point has already been fairly well set in the $25ish dollar range based on past pay per view streamed events. I don’t know what the nut is for a track and the company that streams it. If we’re just supposing here I’d like to think that in the absence of any regional modified racing that attracting 4000 paid subscriptions is not outlandish at all. I don’t know that $100000 would cover the nut with some left over but it seems like it could.
    What’s it cost to stream a race. One camera, track announcers get tied in. Again I’m shooting blanks but as we’ve seen in the last couple months multiple people at multiple locations can be tied in via Zoom for free. I don’t know that the cost to stream a race is really that prohibitive and such a huge barrier. Technology is moving at light speed so why can’t that make streaming races more financially viable?
    OK forget New England based fanless races. If it’s some geezer in Enfield Ct with his fingers crossed wishing upon a star vs Shawn Courchesne I’m taking the expert every time. But does streaming fill a void for live races like the NWMT race a Myrtle Beach should it come off?
    Hybrid events. Poor attendance because of the location or fear from the risks the plaque presents. How do you make up for the lost revenue?
    NASCAR was supposed to stream all the NWMT races via NBC Sports Gold. I would assume they plan to do it with the Myrtle if it is on. Relatively speaking the NWMT race at Myrtle last time was not that well attended. I don’t know it’s the case but it seems very logical that NASCAR sees Myrtle not just as a friendly site that will hold a race buy any site that will hold a race that can be streamed.. I doubt they think they can make money on a crowd only race In a part of the country that doesn’t really care about modifieds. However a hybrid race with anemic attendance and a streaming audience could be a success for sure. It’s content. NASCAR needs content and they need it ASAP.
    If the Myrtle race is a fizzle apply it to any NWMT race in the future with crowd restrictions and low turnout. Streaming could make them whole.
    Hybrid races. Anemic attendance at scheduled races bolstered by streaming. I don’t see why that could not be a successful business model to make racing work this year. I don’t see why it couldn’t work for any TTOMS race or if a track like Stafford could integrate streaming to supplement what it loses on live attendance. I get there is no one thinking the same thing or that there is any evidence it’s even a remote possibility.
    So there you go. I disagree with Mr. Courchesne and am dumb enough to be extra wordy about it.

  21. Doug, keep working on fanless PPV short track racing coverage. It’s about as viable as injecting Clorox, Lysol, and internal UV light is for curing COVID-19.

  22. WeldingWonders says


    darealgoodfella says
    August 7, 2017 at 2:12 pm
    “Have you seen his audition tapes for replacing TC as the Tour Clown? Muffed a restart at Loudon, took out the field. Went in on the 6 on the last lap at Loudon, took out the lead cars, and just about every other close confines racing situation where he took out his car and those around him. I could go on and on. If his flux capacitor doesn’t keep the other cars away, he’s going down.”

    “Terrible news. Ted was a racer all other racers respected. Thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
    — David Ragan September 16, 2017

    “Horrible news. Absolute definition of a racer. ”
    — Alex Bowman September 16, 2017

    “Heard the news of this just moments after walking into VL. Very sad. He was a legend. ”
    — Dale Earnhardt Jr. September 16, 2017

    “So very sad to hear of Ted Christopher’s passing…Greatness passes into Legend #RIP”
    — Kyle Petty September 16, 2017

    “Another one of the greats gone too soon. Was lucky to race with and learn from such a true racer and fierce competitor. Rip TC13”
    — Martin Truex Jr. September 17, 2017

  23. Doug, you need to remember that dirt late models and 410 sprint cars run regularly in about 40 states, whereas asphalt mods run in maybe 10. Much different audience potential in my opinion.

  24. Dirt racing is a totally different genre. I don’t know how they do it, but there are so many big money races, that attract racers from across the country. They even have Dirt TV.

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