West Coast NASCAR Fan Feels the 2011 Schedule Squeeze

It's hard enough being a NASCAR fan on the west coast, but the 2011 NASCAR schedule is making my life even harder. 

From where I live in California, there are no Sprint Cup tracks that I can just pop to for a day without needing a hotel.  The closest too me is Infineon and although I do love to drive, it's three hours on a good day to get to the track from where I live. Which means I would have to leave at the crack of dawn to get to the track, spend all day at the track, and then try to drive home the same day.

Because it would be a race day, the 3 hour drive would probably be more like a 6 hour drive home. When I left right when the race was over in 2009, I didn't get home until after 11:00 pm and the only stop I made was to grab some dinner. 

That is a LONG day for me to then have to get up and be at work and functional by 8:00 am the next morning. 

I go to every race that I can afford to go to that is "out west" (both finances and time off of work needs to be considered).  The races I went to on the 2010 schedule were: Las Vegas, Spring Phoenix, Fall Fontana, Fall Phoenix (and then Champions week).  I really only missed Infineon because the timing there was kind of poor for me this year. 

I realize that it is cheaper for the teams to have all the west coast dates clumped together as close as possible, but they are making it absolutely impossible for me to go to many races this season. 

  • Spring Phoenix, Las Vegas and Fontana are all really close together.  This means I have to rule out Spring Phoenix from my 2011 race itinerary.
  • I always go to the Las Vegas race,  so I am not ruling that one out. 
  • Fontana is also fairly close to Las Vegas, so I probably will have to skip that one too because work will not want to give me the time off so close together and there is no Fall Fontana race this season

This means I will most likely only be going to Las Vegas and Fall Phoenix. And maybe Infineon if I feel I can swing the time off.

However, truth be told Infineon is a road course and those are better seen on TV than in person (as has ALWAYS been my road course experience).  Maybe NASCAR should consider swapping Fontana and Texas or Fontana and Richmond next year? It would make it so much easier for ME to go to as many races as possible. 

OR move the Vegas race to be a Saturday night race in late September?  I can't imagine they are actually going to increase Fontana attendance by having it so close to both the Vegas and the Phoenix races...fans who attended multiple races in that area a year like I do, and have full time jobs like I do, are not going to be able to travel back-to-back like that...its not financially possible for the average middle class person to do it; between needing the funds to do it AND the time off of work. 

I know that it's probably cheaper to have the schedule this way for the teams in this economy - but there has to be a happy medium that would work for them NASCAR cup teams  AND the fans out west who travel to various races in a season.

I can’t be the only one out there right?  And don’t even get me started about there being no road course in the chase


Read More from Amy Marbach at Amy's Bad Groove

Photo credit: Scazon