By: Ashley McCubbin
With practice perhaps becoming less in the future even post pandemic in NASCAR, Pocono Raceway has beat the curve in coming up with a unique way to ensure they have fans in attendance all weekend.
In knowing most of the crowd comes for the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series, why not have a race each day, accompanied by a developmental series? A concept first developed for 2020, the fruits of their labor are being witnessed with a full grandstands both days.
“We praise it. We like being the first,” Pocono Raceway president Ben May told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “We like being innovators; we have been for 50 years. I think the proof is in the pudding for me when it comes to the concept. When I sit in the spotter’s stand and look down and see a packed infield, and see a ton of smiling faces, a ton of kids that have come through our 12 and under kids program, our free carnival in the fan zone, and do as a family business for our fans and partners is certainly special.”
While they are seeing everything pay off, May admits it was a daunting task, that included some uncomfortable conversations to reach this point. Some of those included with attendees, in assuring everyone got a spot they preferred in combining two weekends into one. However, with the acreage they have, he says it became an easier process than anticipated.
“Ultimately, that’s who we are – we’re thoughtful, think through the process and it worked out for us,” he commented. “We made a lot of folks happy in allowing folks to keep their spot and those we had to relocate got an equally present experience.”
While they may be the first, it certainly has seen it’s rewards in regards to attendance numbers, as well as the shortened race distances contributing to excitement on track. Previous events at the tricky triangle have tended to be drawn out, but that was not the case this past weekend. Races were under three hours in length, featuring battles and a mix of strategy to keep the fans interested.
Pocono Raceway may have been the innovator, but ultimately, it could be the right tone for the sport to follow in the future.