APRIL 13, 2005
Racing under lights
In the United States of America there has been a trend towards running motor racing events under lights. It happened in 2003 at the Cleveland CART race and is happening more and more in NASCAR as the speedways try to find ways to bring in more people. Racing at night is easier for those who have other things to do during daylight hours, but perhaps more importantly can be broadcast on primetime television, which increases the TV audiences and thus makes the sport more attractive to the sport and its sponsors. The latest track to invest in lighting is the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, where NASCAR holds its championship finales.
It is worth noting that we also hear that the subject of night racing has come up in discussions about the future of Formula 1. This would not be easy given the size of some of the tracks (in comparison to the compact oval circuits that are used in NASCAR) but there are certainly circuits where such a thing would be possible. New circuits, where governments are spending large sums of money, could easily be asked to include lighting as well.
The CART drivers at Cleveland where initially opposed to the idea of racing under lights but found that the reality was not that different to daylight racing. The reason the idea was not repeated was because of the cost of paying for the floodlights and for the electric power needed to run them.
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