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NASCAR abandons Presidents’ Day Weekend ahead of NFL schedule shift

Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Landon Cassill

With the NFL hell bent on adding two weekends to the current calendar and the Super Bowl seemingly destined to move to Presidents’ Day Weekend, the powers-that-be at NASCAR have decided to jump before they get nudged into the wall.

But they’re not saying that the move of the 2012 season kickoff to February 26 is the direct result of a looming move of the Super Bowl.

“We have a very short offseason,” NASCAR senior vice president Steve O’Donnell told David Newton of ESPN.com.  “This gives us a little more time shortening up the season.”

Then again, maybe they are.

“We’re not going to deny the fact that part of this also is in dealing with the NFL,” O’Donnell said.  “Who knows where they’ll go with an 18-game schedule?  But we want to get ahead of that.

“Either way, we think it’s the right thing to do for our season to kick off.  The Super Bowl’s certainly a big event, but so’s the Daytona 500.  To give fans an opportunity to go to both of those we think is the right move, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Last week, NFL CFO Mark Waller explained during an appearance on PFT Live that moving the Super Bowl to Presidents’ Day Weekend may not be an ideal outcome for the league, given that plenty of people travel on the last official three-day weekend before Memorial Day.  That said, fans who have long been clamoring for the game to be played on Saturday night likely will settle for a move to the Sunday of a holiday weekend, which will allow folks to stay up late and enjoy the game (along with their favorite legal beverages), without having to worry about school or work the next day.

The next two Super Bowls have firm dates in 2012 and 2013.  The league has not yet assigned a specific Sunday to Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be played in New Jersey in February 2014.

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44 Responses to “NASCAR abandons Presidents’ Day Weekend ahead of NFL schedule shift”
  1. skoobyfl says: Feb 20, 2011 12:36 PM

    Whew, I can sleep at night now.

  2. mikeammo says: Feb 20, 2011 12:37 PM

    Why can’t the NFL just start the season 2 weeks earlier and end at the same time? The season SHOULD end the last week of January, quite honestly.

    Us northerners absolutely LOVE that the coldest days of the year are in the heart of the potential “new playoff schedule” if the league moves to 18 games.

    Furthermore, I don’t know what Goodell is talking about when he says “fans want 18 games.” I haven’t seen that anywhere.

  3. iknowfootballandyoudont says: Feb 20, 2011 12:39 PM

    The NFL is the cream of the crop in sports. They will always overshadow other sports and events, so it is very wise for NASCAR to get out of the way.
    BTW NASCAR isnt even a sport?
    Sports have athletes. Drivers aren’t athletes.
    How can sitting in a car and going round and round for 3 hours be considered a sport or it’s “drivers” be considered athletes?
    Hell, a monkey can sit in the care and do left turns all day long.
    In the world of entertainment the rankings would look like:
    NFL
    NCAA
    MLB
    NBA
    NHL
    Soccer
    Pro Bass Circuit
    Gymnastics
    Chess
    NASCAR

  4. iknowfootballandyoudont says: Feb 20, 2011 12:40 PM

    Ooops,
    Car, not care, for those internet professors

  5. herokravon says: Feb 20, 2011 12:42 PM

    Thumbs up if you are off on Pres day, down if not.

  6. lionsfan54 says: Feb 20, 2011 12:45 PM

    But, how many people really get President’s Day off? Bank workers and mailmen. Who else?

  7. ny82jy says: Feb 20, 2011 12:46 PM

    Who’s watchin the daytona 500 today?? Just sux they ruined the plate racing with the two car packs..

  8. thevoiceofrog says: Feb 20, 2011 12:47 PM

    WE will play FOOTBALL 96 weeks a year, and THEN not at all. There will be a great LOCKOUT and there shall not be FOOTBALL during a LOCKOUT.
    I miss the Jets MAILROOM it was WARM.
    IAMALAWYER.
    I MARRIED Fox NEWS
    FOOTBALL is better than RACING. There will be no FOOTBALL.

    ROGER HAS SPOKEN.

    Love,
    Rog

  9. footballrulz says: Feb 20, 2011 12:54 PM

    @ iknowfootballetc,

    You may know football but you obviously know nothing about NASCAR. You might be wise to keep your comments to something you do know. It’s that whole it’s better to be thought of as a fool thing, ya know.

  10. AlanSaysYo says: Feb 20, 2011 12:59 PM

    This is a holiday weekend? Could have fooled me.

  11. FoozieGrooler says: Feb 20, 2011 1:07 PM

    “BTW NASCAR isnt even a sport?
    …How can sitting in a car and going round and round for 3 hours be considered a sport or it’s “drivers” be considered athletes?”

    Hey listen pal, as long as “curling” is considered a “sport”, I’ll consider NASCAR one.

  12. fivetwos says: Feb 20, 2011 1:12 PM

    **Why can’t the NFL just start the season 2 weeks earlier and end at the same time?**

    Because TV ratings are supposedly lower over Labor Day weekend.

    The networks probably wouldn’t pay as much if that weekend was included in the season.

    So the answer to your question, and many others when it comes to this league is….GREED.

  13. downsouth49er says: Feb 20, 2011 1:25 PM

    Just do away with NASCAR..and hockey!!!

  14. vietnambob2473 says: Feb 20, 2011 1:41 PM

    thumbs up if iknowfootballandyoudont is an idiot.

  15. iknowfootballandyoudont says: Feb 20, 2011 1:46 PM

    thumbs up if vietnambob is a moron

  16. iknowfootballandyoudont says: Feb 20, 2011 1:47 PM

    I want 18 games!

  17. iknowfootballandyoudont says: Feb 20, 2011 1:47 PM

    18 REGULAR season games

  18. joetoronto says: Feb 20, 2011 1:47 PM

    mikeammo says: Feb 20, 2011 12:37 PM

    Why can’t the NFL just start the season 2 weeks earlier and end at the same time? The season SHOULD end the last week of January, quite honestly.
    ********************************************************
    Because it’s too hot in much of the country.

    Unlike the cold, playing football in extreme heat can cause death, which the NFL knows all to well.

  19. veretax says: Feb 20, 2011 1:50 PM

    Only idiots think race car drivers have it easy. Sit in a hot car baking, sweating, all the while enduring G-forces, vibrations and all sorts of other bumps and knocks while trying to keep a car at top speed from running into anything around it. Of course its a sport. Just because it uses mechanics to propel it doesn’t make it not so. Oh, and let’s not forget that crashes often end the day in Racing.

  20. hobartbaker says: Feb 20, 2011 2:02 PM

    The NFL is also planning to move Easter into mid October and Independence Day to the end of November, to add some extra long weekends to the schedule.

  21. ispysomething7 says: Feb 20, 2011 2:28 PM

    I’m a Banker and if the superbowl were to be played over Presidents Day weekend I’d be ecstatic! I could stay up later than normal and run my parlay boards! everyone knows Bankers love to gamble, especially with other peoples money!

  22. iknowfootballandyoudont says: Feb 20, 2011 3:10 PM

    veretax says:
    Feb 20, 2011 1:50 PM
    Only idiots think race car drivers have it easy. Sit in a hot car baking, sweating, all the while enduring G-forces, vibrations and all sorts of other bumps and knocks while trying to keep a car at top speed from running into anything around it. Of course its a sport. Just because it uses mechanics to propel it doesn’t make it not so. Oh, and let’s not forget that crashes often end the day in Racing.

    **************************************
    Hell, you just described myself 20 years ago driving my pickup across south Texas for a living each day of the week.
    Wow, I must be an athlete!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. thetooloftools says: Feb 20, 2011 3:32 PM

    Trust me. If you can afford to go to the Super Bowl, you can afford to take the next day off work so that issue holds no water.

  24. freedomispopular says: Feb 20, 2011 3:32 PM

    I think more of us are off on MLK Day than on Prez’s Day.

  25. childressrulz says: Feb 20, 2011 4:11 PM

    Dang don’t move the pres weekend race. I take the day off and sit in my trailer. I buy an extra six pack, grow my magnificent, and oh so luxurious mullet out extra long, and look for some single mom in the next trailer. You know the one with like six kids or more so I know she’s easy. Wheeeew Nascar!

  26. packerbacker12 says: Feb 20, 2011 4:42 PM

    “Hell, you just described myself 20 years ago driving my pickup across south Texas for a living each day of the week.
    Wow, I must be an athlete!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Driving your pickup at 50+ mph doesn’t compare to driving a stock car at 170+ mph.

  27. wallyhorse says: Feb 20, 2011 4:56 PM

    I’m quite surprised by this myself:

    If anything, NASCAR having had what is still considered to be “The Great American Race” on Presidents Day weekend longer than the Super Bowl has existed would have had enough merit for them to take the NFL head-on, but I suspect in the end, NASCAR realizes that the Super Bowl would totally overshoot everything with the Daytona 500 (which NASCAR got a taste of last year when the Super Bowl and Daytona 500 were one week apart) and they have to make an adjustment for that.

  28. bpross01 says: Feb 20, 2011 5:02 PM

    If the NFL makes this change, you’ll see a lot more people getting President’s Day off. I know I’ll be offering my employees, by popular vote, a choice of PD or Laor Day. I’m pretty sure I know what they’ll pick…..

  29. bpross01 says: Feb 20, 2011 5:02 PM

    That’s Labor Day, of course….

  30. db105 says: Feb 20, 2011 5:37 PM

    packerbacker12 says:
    Feb 20, 2011 4:42 PM
    “Hell, you just described myself 20 years ago driving my pickup across south Texas for a living each day of the week.
    Wow, I must be an athlete!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Driving your pickup at 50+ mph doesn’t compare to driving a stock car at 170+ mph.

    ————————————————–
    Driving a car 170+ mph in a wide open area does not require much skill. Just like it does not take any skill for 6’6″ basketball player to dunk.

  31. packerbacker12 says: Feb 20, 2011 6:30 PM

    “Driving a car 170+ mph in a wide open area does not require much skill.”

    Wide open air? Look at the article picture, idiot.

  32. promin1 says: Feb 20, 2011 6:59 PM

    For the idiots that think NASCAR is not a sport or requires no skill. Lets see you try drive a car at 195 mph for 200 laps drafting the car in fronts bumper 1inch apart and try not to be a spot on the wall. Gotta love morons who speak against things they have never done or have the balls to try. I have watched football for 30+ years, but to be honest. The game is falling second to commercials and the Super Bowl. Well that is a complete circus. I much rather watch Daytona 500. Racing is awesome. Fast cars, hot chicks, good food and lots of beer. If you don’t like that…then somethings wrong with you.

  33. ny82jy says: Feb 20, 2011 7:27 PM

    Cant beleive that rookie Trevor Bayne won the 500. Good for him. Congrats.. Come on guys if anyone watched that race today how can you say with a honest face that its easy to drive a race car..

  34. emperor83 says: Feb 20, 2011 7:55 PM

    Hot chicks? They’re from the south. The 3% that actually are hot are all taken by relatives. I’m not denying auto racing as a sport, but it’s just not my thing. Curling, Golf, Poker, Eating, Beer Pong and Wii on the other hand? THOSE are not sports…

  35. footballrulz says: Feb 20, 2011 8:14 PM

    emperor83 says:
    Feb 20, 2011 7:55 PM
    Hot chicks? They’re from the south. The 3% that actually are hot are all taken by relatives.
    ___________________________________

    Idiot! Obviously you have never been south of the Mason Dixon line or east of the Mississippi River. If you have been then you are ,without question, blind!!!!!!!!

  36. promin1 says: Feb 20, 2011 8:43 PM

    emperor83….have you ever gone to a race? There are hot women everywhere. And I got know idea what your talking about. Ive lived in the north and the south and southern women are much hotter and don’t have attitudes either. I get racing isn’t for everybody. Thats cool. I would rather have my finger nails pulled out then have to watch college basketball, NBA, hockey or soccer. Not my thing.

  37. nfl4ever says: Feb 20, 2011 9:49 PM

    NASCAR Might be missing the boat here, having the Daytona 500 on at 12 or 1PM on Super Sunday might be a win-win for the fans, that way we won’t have to sit through all the pre-game garbage the NFL feeds us before the 6:20 kickoff.

    That truly would be a “Super Sunday” the biggest event in two sports (yes it’s a sport) on the same day when the majority of the country is most likely affected by weather.

  38. nfl4ever says: Feb 20, 2011 9:57 PM

    OK, this is for the anti-NASCAR “It’s not a sport” crowd.

    A typical race at Daytona or especially Talladega would be the equivalent of you driving in 3-4 lanes of traffic all bunched together, inches apart at 70-80 MPH for 3 to 4 hours without a break. And no, YOU don’t do that every day, get real.

    Throw in highly banked turnes where 3 to 4 times your body weight is pressing against you in the form of G-Forces, no air condition, no music or entertainment on the radio driving fast to the point you are on the edge of wiping out at any second and you get the idea.

    They may not be athletes in the traditional sense but the skill, conditioning and hand-eye coordination to race at the highest level is rare, only 43 guys get to do it on a weekly basis. Compare that to the fact there probably only 43 competent QB’s in the entire NFL.

  39. bing253 says: Feb 20, 2011 10:34 PM

    The NFL actually isn’t adding anymore games just changing two from preseason to regular season. So the calendar won’t change except for the games moving from Friday and Saturday to Sunday.

  40. MichaelEdits says: Feb 20, 2011 11:04 PM

    Nice to know the 2012 has a firm Super Bowl date, if there’s a game at all.

  41. effthaeffinjetsgofins says: Feb 21, 2011 1:45 AM

    There are hot chicks everywhere. But you can see their nice legs and cleavage in the South for nine months a year. And more of them look hot in the heat and with lots of beer.

    NFL rules, but NASCAR is a sport. If golf is a sport, then so is NASCAR.

  42. blackqbwhiterb says: Feb 21, 2011 5:47 AM

    gimme a thumbs up if you think 20 years from now it’s known as Super Bowl weekend, a national 3-day weekend, and nobody remembers that it’s supposed to be President’s Day……..

  43. wallyhorse says: Feb 21, 2011 9:37 AM

    nfl4ever wrote:

    >>NASCAR Might be missing the boat here, having the Daytona 500 on at 12 or 1PM on Super Sunday might be a win-win for the fans, that way we won’t have to sit through all the pre-game garbage the NFL feeds us before the 6:20 kickoff.>>

    >>That truly would be a “Super Sunday” the biggest event in two sports (yes it’s a sport) on the same day when the majority of the country is most likely affected by weather.>>

    How do you account for possible rain delays at Daytona? While Formula 1 will run in the rain, NASCAR (except on some road courses) can’t run their cars like that in the rain. You could be looking at a situation where it’s pouring rain at Daytona on Super Sunday, with fans leaving early to make sure they get to wherever they plan to see the Super Bowl in time (and we are talking close to 200,000, or close to double the largest crowd ever to see an NFL game).

    The one thing I could see done is the Budweiser Shootout, which is the first actual race of the NASCAR season (a 75-lap non-points race between the previous years pole sitters and certain others) take place early on Super Bowl Sunday at Noon ET. That would end with plenty of time for people to get to Super Bowl destinations at Daytona.

  44. nfl4ever says: Feb 21, 2011 10:12 AM

    wallyhorse says:
    Feb 21, 2011 9:37 AM

    The one thing I could see done is the Budweiser Shootout, which is the first actual race of the NASCAR season (a 75-lap non-points race between the previous years pole sitters and certain others) take place early on Super Bowl Sunday at Noon ET. That would end with plenty of time for people to get to Super Bowl destinations at Daytona.
    ——————————————————
    That’s not a bad idea.

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