Kevin Harvick is fine with Sunday’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway being 500 miles in length and staying that way. It is, after all, one of NASCAR’s paramount “crown jewel” races, along with the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600 and Brickyard 400.

But for other races on NASCAR’s schedule, Harvick said hitting that kind of milage is just too much.

“There’s no reason that any race outside of a ‘crown jewel’ race is longer than 500 miles,” Harvick said Thursday during a Zoom press conference. “It’s not something that is really even necessary in today’s day and age.”

Sunday’s 500-miler is a staple of NASCAR’s 36-race season, and it kicks off the 16-driver, 10-race playoffs this year. The Daytona 500 is also 500 miles, while the Coke 600 is 600 miles — which we’ve previously argued is way too long — and the Brickyard 400 is, well, 400 miles.

But there are several regular races on the schedule, including at Talladega Superspeedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, that are 500 miles long, and, Harvick is in favor of them being shortened.

The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driver has often been vocal about changing up NASCAR’s “stale” schedule — outside of the strain on it because of the COVID-19 pandemic — and shorter races could attract new or lost fans to the struggling sport.

In his explanation, Harvick cited races at Texas Motor Speedway, which typically hosts two 501-mile races each season. Harvick continued:

“Five hundred miles at Texas — it takes forever to run that race and do the things that we do there, and we’ve all learned. The fans and the sponsors even look at it like, ‘Man, it just seems more intense when the races are a little shorter.’

“But you look at the Daytona 500 and you look at the Coke 600 and the Southern 500, those races obviously have a different type of meaning to our sport than some of the other races that have been added through the years. And I think that the distance of 500 miles at a lot of these races is definitely too long.”

At this point, the 2020 NASCAR schedule hardly resembles what was originally planned.

But of the five races so far that have been at least 500 miles, the shortest one (Talladega) still lasted about three-and-a-half hours, according to NASCAR-run racing-reference.info. The first race at Texas in 2020 was pushing four hours, and the second one is in October during the playoffs’ Round of 8.

So Harvick has a pretty solid point when it comes to shortening races other than the “crown jewels.”

Sunday’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway is at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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