Race Weekend Central

Eyes on Xfinity: Should the Series Get Dirty?

As arguably the most controversial weekend outside of the championship has passed, we at Frontstretch figured that you, the beloved readers, could do for some more dirt content.

That duty has fallen to me, and I will happily take up this yoke and pose a question that I asked myself several times over the weekend: why doesn’t the NASCAR Xfinity Series run on the dirt too?

We’ve covered this before here on the site, but I wanted to revisit to dig a little bit deeper into the legitimacy of the Xfinity Series not getting a seat at the dusty, dirty table two years later.

Don’t get it twisted, I’m not 100% sold on the series giving it a go on the dirt, but as a concept, it seems silly to run the lowest ranking nationally televised series on dirt along with the NASCAR Cup Series and just completely leave out the other.

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That brings me to the biggest factor I can think of for all of the dirt racing advocates: it delegitimizes the Xfinity Series as a whole.

Even back in 2021, we were discussing the image problem with Xfinity. Is this NASCAR’s way of fixing it? Leaving the sport’s future stars out to dry? I would wager that outside of a few marquee names, no casual fan could name more than three Craftsman Truck Series drivers, but I can promise you they would be able to name more Xfinity drivers.

On top of that, if Xfinity’s image is supposed to be that they’re too good for a dirt race, then why run the Cup Series on it at all? If they’re not too good for it, the Xfinity teams definitely aren’t.

If the argument is that “Xfinity needs its own stage,” then I can promise you that running one dirt race a year isn’t going to hurt it nearly as much as keeping them from running that one dirt race a year. The more I think about it, the more it just doesn’t make any logical sense.

Then, I realize the detractors.

The racing absolutely sucks, and this is coming from someone who grew up at a local dirt track every weekend. What NASCAR is doing is taking a car that will essentially compete at Le Mans, slapping a grill cover on, putting on some really bad Goodyear dirt track tires and saying, “Alright, fellas, have at it.”

I would rather each and every team borrow a late model from someone and slide those around for 500 laps before I even considered attentively watching another Next Gen Bristol Dirt Race. This isn’t Next Gen we’re talking about here, though, is it?

The Xfinity car has, more or less, stayed the same for quite some time. Teams know how to build it, adjust it and plan around it by now. The last major debate in changing the Xfinity car that I can remember is in 2012 when Xfinity was made to stay carbureted while Cup switched to injection. Point being, it’s a more moldable racecar, and over the last two years it’s produced the best true racing that NASCAR has had.

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Could that carry over to dirt?

I don’t know, but it sure would be nice to see them try. How good of an “image” would it be if the highlight of the entire weekend was the Xfinity race? NASCAR wouldn’t like that, though, because then it outshines their main product, and god forbid the fans see some good racing on a Saturday, right?

If NASCAR wants to continue to try and force dirt racing down the throats of its fans, then let them. If they’re going to, though, it needs to be a united front or not at all. Bring Xfinity to the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track or never run it again.

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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