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Head2Head: Should 'halftime' be implemented into Cup races?

July 09, 2012, ,

Should 'halftime' be implemented into Cup races?


It's as American as eating apple pie or wearing cowboy boots, and as big of a deal in the nation's single-biggest sporting event as the game itself. Can you imagine the Super Bowl without its halftime show? It's the pinnacle of an entertainment change-up for football's biggest stage, and it would be impossibly different without it.

That said, imagine the possibilities of a NASCAR "halftime show" at something like the Daytona 500 -- NASCAR's "Big Game."

Besides the mind-boggling entertainment angle, it would probably lead to shortening the races a bit, which fans and driver are generally in favor of, anyway. And, at the house on TV or at the track in the stands, you can engage in all kinds of your favorite fan pastimes. Grabbing a cold beverage, hitting the facilities, prepping a new round of grub -- do it all without missing the action. And without your spoiler alert of a pal blowing up your TiVo delayed-watching plan by texting, "U c dat rek?!?!"

College games have battles of the bands during halftime, basketball has trampolining mascot dunks, baseball has a "stretch" just so fans can sing about their game experience and football has, err, pop stars ripping each others clothing off. And that doesn't even count The Black Eyed Peas performing every once and a while.

As for protecting the traditional format of a race? C'mon: those drivers need a break and so do you. Think how much fun it will be to hit the gas again after all the mid-race chatter has stewed, the anticipation can build and a wardrobe malfunction gets someone sued! Ah, halftime.

Nick Margiasso, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Iunderstand the reasoning behind the need to "create drama" and developing "Game 7 moments," two of NASCAR chief executive officer Brian France's favorite catch phrases. But doing it with a mandatory mid-race break in the Cup Series? That's where I have to draw the line. Ridiculous. Preposterous. Unnecessary.

Your parents had it right with the whole discussion about, "If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you too?" Just because other major sports have built-in stoppages, NASCAR doesn't need to find silly reasons to follow suit.

What's wrong with the way Cup races have been run for the past 70 years? A 500-mile race should be 500 miles, not arbitrarily split in half. Part of the appeal is to see which crew and car might be capable of handing adversity and standing up to the challenge of a predetermined distance.

And what, pray tell, would be the purpose behind the first half of the race, if the field is bunched up for the restart? Why go out and build a big lead, only to know it's going to be wiped out when the race reaches its midpoint?

Despite what they love to say on TV, you don't accumulate points during a Cup race, so it'd be like resetting the score of the Super Bowl for the second half kickoff, or making sure every World Series game goes extra innings.

It's a gimmicky idea, plain and simple. France is correct: This sport shouldn't need gimmicks to be successful. Leave the halftime shows to the marching bands and the cheerleaders.

Mark Aumann, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

With modern culture, and therefore modern sport, in a state of seemingly constant modification, NASCAR has been good about following along with the changing ideas of its fans by making all kinds of adjustments to the sport. One tweak that has not been made, however, is the implementation of some kind of a "halftime." But is Cup racing compatible with a halftime at all? Every major sport in the U.S. incorporates one of some kind, and there's no bigger sport than NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing, so is it time? NASCAR.COM writers Mark Aumann and Nick Margiasso tackle the taboo of halftime at a Cup race.