Speak Your Mind: Will the off-weekend kill momentum?

Jeff Gordon crosses the finish line at Phoenix, one of three feel-good
wins to start off the 2011 Sprint Cup season. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
This weekend the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series are taking their first off-week. This comes after the first three Sprint Cup races of the season featured a surprise Daytona 500 winner, a four-time champ's return to victory lane and a fan favorite winning, as well as a record amount of lead changes, great racing, sold-out crowds and increased ratings.

At Skirts and Scuffs, we are pondering the following questions: With the season just starting in February, is it too early for an off-weekend? Will the time off kill the momentum that has been established? And for fun, how do you plan to spend the off-weekend? Will you be tuning in to the Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday or the Daytona 500 documentary Sunday? Or do you take a break along with the sport?

Here's what some of our contributors had to say:

Summer Dreyer: I don't think the break will cause ratings to increase or decrease, but a break this early in the season seems unnecessary. Maybe five races into the season would make more sense, but even then everyone is just getting back into the swing of things after the off-season. Hopefully with some of the schedule changes coming next year - including the Daytona 500 running a week later - we'll see the first off-week moved to a bit later into the season.

As far as this weekend, I plan on tuning into the Camping World Truck Series race at Darlington Raceway. The trucks always put on a good show and Darlington is a great racetrack. Other than that, I'll be trying to catch up on a few things over the off-week and maybe go see a movie. I'll try and tune into the Trevor Bayne/Daytona 500 special on Sunday, then it's back to racing again at Bristol Motor Speedway. Should be fun!

Lacy Keyser: I disagree, I think a break is needed. The drivers and the crew members all have been working since about mid-January all the way through February and Speedweeks; some workers didn't even go home, so I think it's a much-needed break for a lot of those crew workers. They all have worked their tails off and deserve much-needed RNR (rest and relaxation) to come back strong for Bristol. 

The Camping World Truck Series has the spotlight
all to itself as the series heads to Darlington.
(Mary Ann Chastain/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kristina LaFountain: I don't think the off-weekend will kill the momentum, because chances are more excitement will build in anticipation of the Bristol race because of this week's off-weekend, therefore increasing ratings. Speaking from the perspective of the fans, I do feel that it is a bit early in the season to have an off-weekend because racing season just started. However, in terms of the race teams I think it gives them the chance to talk strategy with some of the make-or-break tracks coming up in the near future.

I plan on spending the off-weekend tuning in to the Camping World Truck Series race. The trucks are always exciting to watch and with the race at Darlington this weekend, I'm sure it will make for a great time. I also plan on catching up on some work and hopefully having a productive yet relaxing weekend.

Holly Machuga: I can see this off-weekend from two perspectives. As a fan, I want to see more racing this weekend. The season just started, and we haven't seen racing for a few months ... so, I'm aching for more. However, I don't think that this will kill the television ratings. NASCAR fans seem hungry for everything happening (surprise winners, great racing, etc.).

In terms of the teams, I think that this is a good opportunity to sit down and say, "What do we need to do get better? What will it take to get in contention for the Chase?"

As for me, I will be relaxing for the most part and spending time with my family. It's a great opportunity to!

Whitney Richards: I do think it's too early for an off-weekend in Cup and Nationwide, but at least there's still a Camping World Truck Series race to watch on Saturday! With Bristol being the next stop for the Cup and Nationwide Series, I don't think this off-weekend will kill the moment gained in the last three races. Bristol's known for its bumper-busting, fender-smashing, paint-trading action so I think it's only going to keep the momentum going! Who knows, we might see a surprise winner next Sunday!

As for this so-called off weekend, I hope to watch the Truck Series race on Saturday as long as nothing comes up!

Amanda Ebersole: For teams, I think the off-weekend is coming at a great time. Three races into the season, some teams are already having problems and need to regroup. After a long Speedweeks in Daytona, teams have been working non-stop and although there is no race this weekend, the work will continue for them, but I know the traveling is what is draining.

The racing this season has been amazing. I think the fans will tune into the truck race to get their "fix" and will eagerly anticipate next weekend's race at Bristol. I don't think there will be a problem with any momentum; we as fans are seeing the best racing in years and with the new points system, the Cup is up for anyone to grab.

As for my plans, I will definitely be watching the Truck race; I am one of those fans who need their racing fix.  Sunday I will be tuning in to the Daytona 500 special on Fox.

Genevieve Cadorette: I really do believe it is too early for an off-weekend and I do know some of the drivers agree. These guys are anxious to get back on the track to race. Kasey Kahne told reporters on Wednesday that he would rather have an off-weekend in July, when it's busier.

I can see the benefit to this weekend's off time. Teams that had hoped to start off strong can sit back and re-evaluate what they've done and what they may need to do to go back stronger.

My weekends are always unpredictable and I've decided to take life on one day at a time. I have no set plans except to spend a little extra time with my sister and catch up on some reading and writing.

Rebecca Kivak: I do think it's too early in the season for an off-weekend. The season just got under way, and fans, drivers and racing personnel are just getting back into the swing of things. However, I can also see the off time as beneficial for the teams. The break not only gives crew members a chance to rest, but the teams have the opportunity to evaluate operations, see where they need to improve and formulate strategy for upcoming tracks.

I don't think the off-week is going to kill the momentum in the sport right now. Is it optimal after the great three weeks NASCAR has had? No. But it's just one week. If anything, I think it will enhance the anticipation for Bristol. I can't think of a better track (except perhaps Talladega) to follow the off-week and keep the momentum going. Also, I think it's a smart move by NASCAR to air the Daytona 500 documentary on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, the races' regular timeslot, on Fox. Ideally it'll attract the sport's new fans, especially with the documentary focusing a lot on Trevor Bayne.

As far as this weekend goes, I plan to catch the Camping World Truck Series race and the Daytona 500 documentary. I also hope to take further advantage of the break by getting some stuff done around the house and spending time with my family.
Speak Your Mind: Will the off-weekend kill momentum? Speak Your Mind: Will the off-weekend kill momentum? Reviewed by Admin on Friday, March 11, 2011 Rating: 5