Sprint Cup Series events to have uniform start times


Queen Calypso
Apr 29, 2009
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Continuing the sport's "back to basics" approach, NASCAR and its television broadcast partners have announced earlier, uniform start times in 2010 for the Sprint Cup Series races.

NASCAR worked closely with FOX, Turner, ESPN/ABC and the tracks on this project for the fans. The race start times for Cup Series races in 2010 in the eastern and central regions will begin at 1 p.m. ET, west coast events will begin at 3 p.m., and night races will begin at 7:30 p.m. (The one exception is NASCAR's longest night race, the Coca-Cola 600, which will have the same 5:45 p.m. start time.) Following the invocation and national anthem, the green flag will drop at approximately 15 to 20 minutes past the hour after each stated race event start time.

"NASCAR fans have been asking for earlier and more consistent start times, and we are making this change for our fans, beginning with the Daytona 500 next February," NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said. "We are revisiting our sport's tradition of earlier green flags, and the added consistency will make it easier for fans to know exactly when the races are being televised.

"Additionally, the new start times will help track operators get fans in and out of the track earlier in the evening. Many fans heading home from the race earlier will be able to eliminate the costs of an extra travel day."

A total of 28 Cup Series races will be held at an earlier time from 2009, of which 20 races are moved to 1 p.m., including the 2010 Daytona 500. (Moving up the start of the Great American Race two-and-one-half hours will bring the earliest start time for the Daytona 500 since 2003, when the race was also scheduled for 1 p.m.) Five races move earlier to the 3 p.m. start and three races start earlier at 7:30 p.m.

In making the decision for earlier, more uniform start times, NASCAR consulted its Fan Council, comprised of 12,000 avid fans who serve as a sounding board on important topics. Half of NASCAR avid fans said they are often unclear about what time NASCAR races actually start. When given the chance to choose a start time, more than two-thirds of avid NASCAR fans preferred early Sunday afternoon.

"It's become clear to us that traditional, early Sunday afternoon, start times are favored by NASCAR fans who both attend races and watch on television," said FOX Sports chairman David Hill. "NASCAR, perhaps more than any other sport, belongs to the generations of fans who have passed on their passion, father to son, mother to daughter, so whatever we can do to make them feel better connected to the sport they love should be done."

"Many fans have been interested in standard start times for NASCAR's television partners. In the long term, we believe this change will make the viewing experience better for everyone," said David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting's distribution, sales and sports. "NASCAR races continue to deliver solid, consistent ratings for TNT. When you combine TV ratings to the number of people who visit NASCAR.COM, the sport clearly remains very healthy and popular."

"We enthusiastically support consistent start times and are happy to have worked with NASCAR on this move," said John Skipper, ESPN's executive vice president, content. "We are thrilled about our position with NASCAR and bullish about the long-term prospects."

"An earlier starting time for the Daytona 500 is great news for our race fans," Daytona International Speedway president Robin Braig said. "In recent years, race fans made their desire very clear for an earlier starting time. With the help of our partners in the sport at NASCAR and FOX Sports, we're proud to deliver an earlier starting time for the 2010 Daytona 500."

"This is a very positive move for our fans," said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager for New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "For example, it allows us another hour of daylight to run our races and to get traffic out before nightfall. Based on the letters I receive from fans, I know they will appreciate NASCAR making this change.

"For years, the NFL has been very successful with its standardized start times of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. You never have to guess when their games start on Sunday. I think that same template will help our sport as well."



Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2008
I like it, but I don't think it'll make that much of a difference. I don't walk around saying, "When's the next race? Do you know when the race will be? Will it be on at 1 or 2, or maybe 3?!? I just don't know, I guess I'll have to watch infomercials on my local Fox or ABC station until a race comes on! WHAT IF IT'S A NIGHT RACE?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?"

Nope, never had that problem.


Active Member
Oct 22, 2008
Edmonton, Alberta
Ive never had a problem either, but were the diehards, the 24% that cup races are down nowadays, some of those people will like it.

All in all, this helps me out big time, I think everyone will be different.


Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2008
Canada Eh!
I'll like standard start times but like others if I miss a race its not because of the time. I'm either not home or out for the weekend in the summer months. If I want to see a race I'll make time.
Still, bravo to NASCAR for trying something. They're finally listening to fans between this and the double file restarts. However I wonder if its too little too late to get ratings back up.


2000 Man
Oct 23, 2008
Continuing the sport's "back to basics" approach

Great. Now put back in some more short tracks!

I just wish it didn't take a bad economy (nascar losing money) for nascar to LISTEN to fans. But regardless, I'm happy with going back to the start times and the new restart rules.


Cheeseburger Connoisseur
Oct 11, 2008
Janesville, MN
I remember when Jr. won the Daytona 500 in 2004. The sun had just gone down by the time the race was over.

Last year when I went to the Daytona 500, it was dark halfway through the race :shock:

I'm glad they are doing this. You shouldn't have to leave the track at 8pm and go to work the next day :worried:
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Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2008
Can't remember
A friend of mine tells everyone what a great and dedicated NASCAR fan she is, doesn't miss a race, but every couple of weeks she asks me, is there is a race on this weekend? or asks me what time it starts, where are they racing. So...this should help her out. LOL!

As for me, the new start times don't effect me one way or the other. I always know when the race is on and if I have something to do and can't watch the race (which doesn't happen very often) I DVR it and catch it later. I'm sure this is a good thing those that go to the races.

Kudos to NASCAR for making this change. (now, if the TV coverage was better, we'd be good to go lol)


Well-Known Member
Nov 6, 2008
I'm not going to miss a race regardless of the start time but I think that it's a great idea. It is certainly more convenient to know exactly what times the races are going to start without having to look it up. I think that this is going to be great for the races that my family & I attend. I've always hated the later start times when I go to the track. +1 to NASCAR and their television partners. :bigthumbup: