There has been much talk about what is the cause of NASCAR’s decline in ratings and attendance.
Ranging from such complaints such as the rule changes, the COT and the Chase format; everyone with an opinion has let theirs be known.
Variety is the spice of life, and at this current time it is severely lacking in NASCAR. Let’s name off the “Cookie Cutter Tracks” in NASCAR at this time: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kansas Motor Speedway and now Kentucky Motor Speedway opening in 2011.
As most NASCAR fans know that Cookie Cutter tracks, though having slight differences with their lanes and banking, are still similar with their 1.5-mile, D-oval shaped track.
It is obvious why NASCAR officials love these race tracks. They are large enough to shove 75 thousand paying fans into the grandstands, but not too large to create excessive speeds that border dangerous for the fans and drivers.
The issue that has arisen from this is now with less expendable income from a down economy, people just are not flocking in droves of 75 thousand to a race. Unless it is one of the big times like Daytona, or Dega, or Charlotte.
People are also not tuning in on their television sets because it seems like every other week, the race is at one of these tracks. Frankly, watching what feels like the same race for 400 or 500 miles every other week can get trying for even the most dedicated NASCAR fan.
I loved the most recent Martinsville race. That short-track racing brought out some of the best entertainment I could remember in recent memory.
I am talking about the whole race, not just the final 30 laps. I cheered when Dale Jr. raced from No. 14 to the lead.
I cursed when Kurt Busch wrecked Jeff Gordon (Gordon was on my fantasy race team) and I applauded Denny Hamlin’s strong start, then temporary setback, only to see the Virginia native race for the win.
I want more of this, and I believe many NASCAR fans do as well.
I propose to update two classics that have been lost, but not forgotten. North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, N.C., and Rockingham Motor Speedway, also in North Carolina.
Two short tracks that encouraged good-ole beating and banging short-track racing that helped foster my love affair with NASCAR.
I understand there will be a cost to bringing these tracks up to date with today’s standards. Rockingham has not been on the Sprint Cup circuit since 2004, and to look back on North Wilkesboro one has to hearken all the way back to 1996.
Also, NASCAR would not make as much money from the actual live event with less seating than, say, at Texas Motor Speedway. But think of the spike in ratings and ad revenue with more people tuning in to see this variety of roughneck racing that only NASCAR can provide. (Sorry, Indy.)
While I am talking about variety, I feel that many old-time fans that have been reading this have been agreeing with me up until this point. Put in one more road-course race.
Like I said, I want variety, and road-course racing brings just that; variety from turning left. I see no reason not to use the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course in Montreal for Sprint Cup racing.
It’s not that I dislike the 1.5-mile tracks. But much like pizza while in college, one can only take in so much before they turn away for awhile to experience something new.
NASCAR, please remove a few of these 1.5-mile dates from the schedule and add in these tracks I proposed.
And watch your ratings rise for all of your races.