The Atlanta repave was awesome to me, but it got me thinking. What are some other tracks that might have become stagnant that are in need of a reconfiguration? – Joshua S. , Starkville, MS.
Excellent question, Joshua, and I’m glad you asked. There are several different tracks on the NASCAR circuit that have became copied and pasted versions of each other, some even just one state over. Along with that, there are some long overdue changes at places that some fans might still hold near and dear to their heart. Let’s start with that one, just so we can ruffle some feathers early on.
Yeah, I said it. In 1992, Bristol Motor Speedway made the switch from asphalt to concrete. If you’ve ever driven on an old concrete highway in your own car doing anywhere north of 50 mph, you know why this was a bad idea. Now, imagine doing it at way more than double that speed, and you’ve got yourself a problem.
When SMI put dirt over the concrete track, fans either loved it or hated it. However, more had to have loved it than not, as it was one of the most-watched races of last season. The on-air talent in the booth said it raced like “the old Bristol,” and if there’s anything that made NASCAR what it was and is today, it’s old Bristol.
The stagnant part doesn’t apply to Bristol as much as other tracks, as the dirt race is truly them trying to make it different. However, for the regular race, asphalt would fix every single problem people have had with the concrete configuration.
If they would simply put down asphalt instead of the concrete, they wouldn’t have to coat the bottom line in PJ1, and they certainly wouldn’t have to worry about the racing being good. After all, they never had to worry about that with old Bristol.
Have you ever heard the saying “Don’t mess with Texas?”
NASCAR should most definitely mess with Texas. It’s bad, and is my personal least favorite out of any track on the circuit. This past weekend IndyCar had their go at the oval, and found that it was still utterly terrible. You could sit in an empty Texas Motor Speedway all by yourself and still see about as much exciting racing as you would when any huge series comes to town. Bottom line, SMI ruined Texas, and is continuing to ruin it. Don’t believe me? Let Denny Hamlin tell you.
With all due respect. This same group has reconfigured Texas, Kentucky, Bristol with 0 driver input. One of those lost a race, other one we don’t race anymore and last one we put dirt over it. But hey, what do the drivers know 🙄 https://t.co/IRCfVeK79d
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) July 7, 2021
3. Las Vegas Motor Speedway
It’s Sin City, a place where people party all night, sleep all day and then repeat. It’s a wild city, full of unexpected strokes of luck and the eventual catastrophic collapse of numerous bank accounts. Shouldn’t the racing follow the same beat?
If you answered that question with a “yes,” then we’re in agreement. The only problem now, though, is that the powers that be at SMI are not. Vegas is one of those copy and pasted cookie cutter 1.5 mile tracks I referenced earlier, and is in dire need of some excitement. The age old joke about televised NASCAR races is that they’re sleeping pills, and for the near-identical 1.5 mile races, I have to agree.
They need to do something. At this point, they can’t just copy Atlanta, but they need to find a way to make the racing enjoyable whether it’s higher speeds, a wider track or even just bulldozing the whole thing and starting over. After all, they’re in the one place where I think they could afford to do such a thing.
As long as a Vegas reconfiguration race has somewhere close to the amount of overtaking that Atlanta had, they could hit a home run with this one.
About the author
Tanner Marlar is a staff writer for On3 Sports' Maroon and White Daily covering Mississippi State Athletics, an AP Wire reporter, an award-winning sports columnist and talk show host and master's student at Mississippi State University. Soon, Tanner will be pursuing a PhD. in Communicative Research.
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