Kevin Harvick comments on the changes to the 2018 NASCAR schedule

Kevin Harvick says change is good: “The one thing that I do like about this season is the fact that the schedule is changing.”

Heading into the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, the schedule looks a bit shifted. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is now the last race of the regular season. Richmond has been added to the playoffs, adding another short track to the playoffs.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is now the opening race for the NASCAR playoffs. In addition, a brand new road course is now on the schedule and they plugged it into the playoffs.

“Do you really want to get me started on schedules?” Harvick asked with a smile at the Charlotte Convention Center.


Kevin Harvick - Ford
FORT WORTH, TX – NOVEMBER 05: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Mobil 1 Ford, celebrates winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 5, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

“The one thing that I do like about this season is the fact that the schedule is changing,” Harvick said.

“You see Richmond in the playoffs, you see Indy in a date that the fans can actually sit in the grandstands without burning their rear ends off, you see the Charlotte road course. It’s just like the road course: If we don’t ever run the road course again, think about all the conversation that it has created. If you did it every year, it would just be another race.”

“Those are the types of things that we need to create. We need to create events; we need to create moments.”

What would Harvick change?

“I think it gets stale. It’s a great race track, but it’s not at all about the race track. It’s really about the event,” Harvick says. “How many times have you had a crappy Super Bowl, but everybody goes to the Super Bowl because it’s an event. And those are the types of things that we need to create.”

“I love how we’re starting to mix it up; I think we need to mix it up more. Going to Vegas for the first race of the playoffs is a good move from a market standpoint. It’s a great race track, but the market in itself is something that you have to pay attention to. If you’re going to some of these places and the market is stale, I think all these race tracks should have the opportunity to have one race in the playoffs.”

The championship race has been hosted at Homestead-Miami Speedway since 2002.

NASCAR Championship 4
HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 20: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, lead the field on a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Much of the NASCAR schedule is locked in a contract. The tracks and dates are locked into a multi-year contract. That doesn’t allow for much movement or new tracks in the schedule, until 2021.

However, Harvick see’s some opportunity there.

“I think there are things there that you could get creative and really mix it up,” Harvick says. “People don’t like the same thing. You have to keep their attention.”

“It can’t just be about the cars racing on the race track and if you have to have a good race. They are not all going to be good. If you make the schedule exciting and make the events exciting, that is what guarantees you the people to come back if they had a good time.”

Kevin Harvick - Stewart-Haas Racing Shop
Kevin Harvick – Stewart-Haas Racing Shop

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Kevin Harvick | NASCAR