Race Weekend Central

Eyes on Xfinity: What Could an Xfinity All-Star Race Look Like?

With the NASCAR Xfinity Series taking a short break this week for All-Star weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway, I decided to put my tin foil hat on and think a bit.

Why should Xfinity be excluded from All-Star weekend? Week in and week out, despite the carrying network and NASCAR’s best efforts, the Xfinity series puts out some of the best on-track product in the oval racing — hell, in the motorsport — world.

It’s almost criminal that the teams and drivers of Xfinity don’t get to experience the blast from the past and epic nostalgia that the main series will get this weekend, and I think I have a solution that would fix just that.

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Each Xfinity team is allotted one entrant for a 100-lap race around the famous short track. The winning team — not the driver — gets $500,000. That way, we don’t get too many cars on the track at once, and teams like Joe Gibbs Racing and JR Motorsports don’t just turn it into a numbers game.

That kind of money could work wonders for a team like Jeremy Clements Racing or Alpha Prime Racing, and with it being such a short race in an unfamiliar environment, they’d actually have a chance at bringing home first place.

It’s also important to note that this race wouldn’t have to be ran on the usual Saturday afternoon. As I write this, the CARS Tour is racing at North Wilkesboro right now with headlining drivers such as Ross Chastain and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

If NASCAR wants to make it a true “All-Star Weekend” then it needs to be modeled after other sports with similar formats. The NBA, which is averaging 5.2 million viewers in its playoff games on ESPN, has the rising stars challenge, where young players from around the league get to showcase their skills in a game of pickup.

The MLB has an entire set of games dedicated to minor league players, and constantly features players coming down from the majors on rehab assignments, almost like when guys like Kyle Larson race down in the Xfinity Series like this past weekend.

Lastly, and stop me if you’ve heard me say this before, but it is absolutely ridiculous for NASCAR to keep treating the Xfinity Series like a red-headed step-child. The Xfinity cars are the purest form of racecar that NASCAR has right now — the Craftsman Truck Series is entirely aero-racing, and Cup Series cars can’t pass each other — but yet, it’s the latter two that are in action this weekend.

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All NASCAR is doing by sending the Xfinity teams to the shadow realm, essentially, is worsening the product that it’s fumbled the bag on so many times before.

For god’s sakes, if there’s a pit crew challenge, somebody would fund a race to watch John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Allgaier and Austin Hill duke it out on a short track without having to worry about stage breaks or competition cautions.

NASCAR has nobody to blame but itself for Xfinity’s lack of interest, and this weekend is just another example of exactly why that’s the case.

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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Love it.

Bill B

Most people yawn when the Cup All-Star race is discussed and the viewership has been trending down for years. Why would anyone think that having one for the Xfinity series would be embraced by fans?

WJW Motorsports

Leave the minor leaguers home for the weekend, but have them send their cars. Seriously though, there is a large group of people that couldn’t be happier to have the weekend off, and not have to pretend there is any actual interest in this weekend. They won’t be fond of suggestions like this one.

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