COMMENTARY: If there is one thing that every NASCAR fan can agree on (which is rare) is the fact that there is way to many commercials during the race. It doesn’t matter what network it is there are many commercials throughout the race and lately it seems that a lot of cautions have happened during commercial breaks.
No other major American sport has this problem has they have stops in the middle of the game that allow them to go to commercial. In NASCAR, there are no guaranteed cautions and as a result we get commercial breaks during the race. Sometimes though we are overpowered by commercials and it feels like a 50/50 ratio which is not ok. Last Sunday at Kentucky, there was a commercial break eight laps into the race. Last night in the Nationwide series race they went to a commercial break with less than 20 laps to go. Last night was almost a wreck free race so they had all race to get commercials out of the way and they went to one right as the race was getting good.
I decided to do a little analysis of the amount of commercial breaks over the years. As I said earlier there was a commercial break eight laps into the race at Kentucky. From the drop of the green flag to the moment of the first commercial break was 4 minutes and 24 seconds. Now with the power of the internet (and YouTube) we are able to see the complete broadcast of some older races. Randomly picked, I watched the opening laps of the 1990 DieHard 500 at Talladega. The time between the drop of the green flag and the moment they went to commercial was 11 minutes and 35 seconds! That is a big difference and also the broadcast was 1000 times more entertaining and kept me held for the whole time. Lets jump to the 2004, the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono saw its first commercial break at 6 minutes and 38 seconds. The 1990 race had a longer commercial free period I believe because not as many people were watching it as that was right before NASCAR became “big”.
So yes, there are more commercial breaks now then there were back in the day. What we can do about this has an unknown answer. All we do know is that the races in the future this year will most likely have many commercials and some racing.