The Backstretch Blog: Night Moves

October 11, 2013

POSTED: 11:48 PM CDT Oct 29, 2013    UPDATED: 10:10 AM CDT Oct 30, 2013 

Turn on the lights and let's get this party started, the Kansas Speedway is getting a night race. I have to say, I'm pretty partial to racing under the lights. Not only do the cars look prettier and faster, but the atmosphere is just far more festive. I mean I know hardcore race fans do it up right every weekend. But average Joe and Jane are much more at ease partying hard on a Saturday night than a Sunday morning.

"Fans continually ask me about a night race and I know that we will have tremendous support from our fans throughout the Midwest for our first Sprint Cup Series night race," said Kansas Speedway president Pat Warren. "Frankly, I look forward to seeing NASCAR under the lights at Kansas Speedway as much as our fans do!"

The cool thing about night races, they real have the ability to change the perception of a race and a track. When I lived in Chattanooga, I went to races at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on a regular basis. The races were fast, but there was nothing exciting about them. Kind the way a lot of people feel about Kansas. I remember the goose bumps I felt watching the cars take their first laps at AMS under the lights. It felt like a different track. The fans were excited and the drivers were as well.

Speaking of night races, the Chase for the Championship will run it's only night race Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. CMS is the only track on the circut that runs all of it's races at night. And yet it will have a completely different feel this weekend, then it did in May.

"The main difference is the temperature change," said last week's winner at Kansas, Kevin Jarvick. "Once night falls during the October race, Charlotte becomes completely different than what we practice on during the day. You can bet on the fact that the track will be really fast as the temperature drops and we'll gain a lot of grip."

For years, Charlotte was Jimmie Johnson's house. He has six wins in points paying races and four more wins in the All-Star race. And even though he has won the last two All-Star showdowns, he has won a points race at CMS since 2009.

"The new cars have evolved some, so I know our set-up will be different than what we ran in the spring," said Johnson. "So I'm excited about that and I feel that we're better now. Of course, the whole field is better, too (laughs). I feel good about it. It will be a little bit different combination."

Johnson is not alone in his success at CMS some of his Hendrick teammates are just as good there. Jeff Gordon has five Charlotte wins (seven if you count the All-Star Race), and Kasey Kahne has four. Jeff Burton and Mark Martin each have three wins there. Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte and Matt Kenseth have a pair of wins in Concord. Casey Mears, Tony Stewart, , David Reutimann, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer have also won in Charlotte.