Tag:Short Tracks
Posted on: March 27, 2012 7:59 pm

Where Have All the Short Tracks Gone?

      I'm only 18 but I'm sure a lot of you older fans out there remember the "golden age" of NASCAR. Remember when Ricky Rudd and Dake Earnhardt spun at North Wilkesboro on the final lap battling for the win in 1989. How about when Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth are almost at a dead heat across the line at the Rock in 2004.

     I like the big tracks. I love Atlanta, Texas, Charlotte and places like that. It's that the Sprint Cup Series schedule has been dilluded with them. Look at this statistic about how many short tracks there have been on the schedule every decade.

Short Tracks on Schedule
1950-13/19 races, 68.4%
1960-30/44 races, 68.2%
1970-28/48 races, 58.3%
1980-10/31 races, 32.3%
1990-7/29 races, 24.1%
2000-6/34 races, 17.6%
2012-6/36 races, 16.6%
     Would you look at that. Richmond, Bristol and Martinsville with 2 races a piece are the only ones that remain. North Wilkesboro is gone, Hickory gone, Nazareth gone and the Rock had weeds growing through the start-finish line a few years ago. Thankfully, it is making a comeback and yes I know it is mile and technically not a short track.

      The one mile tracks are like the short tracks though. They are both exciting, action packed with rubbin and lots of racing and they usually have some kind of good finish or controversy. When is the last time you saw a phantom debris caution at Bristol or Martinsville? Yes, phantom debris cautions are real and they happen a lot. They are wrong but they don't bother me because they do spice up some races but that is a whole other controversy for another day.

     We have too many cookie cutter tracks on the shedule and it needs to be fixed. I chuckled when I saw a commercial for the AutoClub 400 the other day when the guy said "the only place where you see 5 wide racing." Yes, we see 5 wide there but only for about 5 to 10 laps after a restart. They left out the part about the single file 200 lap green flag run which usually ends with a debris caution.

     Now like I said before, I love Atlanta, Charlotte and those places. Those tracks have history and character. Kansas, Las Vegas, Kentucky, Cali and Chicago don't. I have heard all the excuses. NASCAR needs to be in that city, the tracks will get better with age, you need all those grandstands and so many other excuses. I don't mean to be a posion pen here. I usually am not but these are the facts and this is my opnion. We need tracks with their own character. I loved how they took Phoenix and tried to warp it int a minature cookie cutter track.

     Everybody think about this for a second. When does a track like the ones I just stated have an exciting finish? When it is a fuel mileage race or there is a late caution, right? That isn't good. That is saying that the racing can't be exciting without an outside force bunching up the field or running the cars out of fuel. So what should NASCAR do? Well, I have a few suggestions.

    First and foremost, talk to Bruton Smith. He controls most of these tracks and nothing will get done unless you have an understanding with him. He wouldn't want to size down his tracks because it will cost him money which will be the main issue. But, packing the stands at a 1 mile track that gets high TV ratings is a lot better than a half filled superspeedway who's TV ratings are in the crapper. We need new tracks to be built that copy Darlington and Martinsville instead of copying Atlanta and Michigan.

     We need NASCAR to step forword and act. NASCAR needs to do this unless you all want to see 30 AutoClub 400's in about 30 years. Bring back the short tracks and build new unique ones. That is the symbol of NASCAR and it is what made them so popular today. Why fix something that isn't broken which is exactly what they did. Now look what they did, it's broken and we now have to fix it.

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