Posted on: September 6, 2008 5:40 pm

Change of Plans

JOLIET, Ill. - My datelines this weekend were to include both here in Joliet outside Chicago as well as Richmond. Unfortunately Tropical Storm Hanna had other plans.

The Pistone itinerary originally had me going from Chicago to Richmond Friday morning to cover the Nationwide Series race Friday night and the Sprint Cup Series Saturday night and then back to Chicago early Sunday to be in Joliet for Sunday's IRL season finale.

That schedule never materialized.

My flight from Chicago to Virginia friday morning was delayed by an hour at the outset and as the time went by and the weather picture got worse in Virginia, any hopes of flying out of O'Hare were dashed around lunchtime.

As the storm got closer and the rains came, NASCAR's decision to scrub everything until Sunday afternoon forced me to have to deal with the fact I'd only be physically able to cover the activities at one track and one city this weekend.

So Sunday I'll be watching Scott Dixon fight off Helio Castroneves for the IRL title in person while keeping my eyes intently on the Chicagoland media center television sets at the proceedings in Richmond.

It's a reminder of how fragile things are in the travel world these days and all it takes is one delay - or a major storm - to throw a wrench in the works.

But you wonder if NASCAR dodged a bullet this weekend if they are indeed able to just delay the final Race to the Chase event by a single day.

Had the storm sat around for two or three days, Monday or Tuesday could have easily been race days this week and the start of the championship season would have had a compressed week of preparation.

NASCAR's 2009 Cup schedule has four off weekends, one more than the last several. It would have been smart to have the final one as a buffer between the end of the 26 race regular season and the start of the Chase. The extra week would allow more time for teams to prepare and get ready for the title run and present NASCAR with a chance to hype up its playoff season, ala the week off before the Super Bowl.

Luckily this year's weather problems turned out to be more of an inconvenience than anything with teams, sponsors, fans and media people having to re-book some travel plans. And I'm sure NASCAr didn't want to have to give up its ABC prime time spot Saturday night for an ESPN slot Sunday afternoon, dead against the start of the NFL season opening weekend.

But on the bright side, if you are a racefan strap yourself in for a big Sunday with two NASCAr races from Richmond and the IRL finale from the Windy City all on tap.




Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Richmond
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