NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Does Kansas Speedway Deserve Two Races in 2011?

Ryan Papaserge@@RyanPapasergeCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2010

Tony Stewart celebrating last year's victory in the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Tony Stewart celebrating last year's victory in the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway.Geoff Burke/Getty Images

It was a topic heavily debated when the 2011 Sprint Cup Series schedule was released in August.

Now that the Chase for the Cup has arrived at Kansas Speedway for the third of ten races, the same question needs to be posed: should the Kansas City-based track host a pair of races on next year's slate?

In addition to its usual early October date, Kansas will play host to an additional 400-mile race on June 5, the weekend after the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

While tracks like Atlanta Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Ca. will join a long list of tracks over the past 10-15 years that have seen Sprint Cup dates either eliminated or cut back, Kansas joins fellow cookie-cutter ovals Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway among those with additional dates.

This doesn't mean it isn't capable of putting on great races, as the video below of Joe Nemechek's photo finish win over Ricky Rudd in 2004 proves. There is a lot of room to race, with the frontstretch apron even providing another racing groove at times.

However, Atlanta Motor Speedway has consistently provided entertaining racing since the track's rebuilding project in 1997. In 2011, their early March date will be pushed back to the end of the month and given to Auto Club Speedway.

Of course, it's quite likely that International Speedway Corporation (ISC)'s plans to build a casino at Kansas had a great deal to do with why the track is suddenly on NASCAR's radar.

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For those not in the know, ISC also owns NASCAR.

It's beginning to seem clear that the Sprint Cup Series isn't really about great racing anymore, but rather how much revenue can be produced on any given week.

Kansas Speedway is a good track, but not good enough to have two dates without the benefit of having a mutual owner with NASCAR.

In due time it will be clear whether the increased interest in Kansas Speedway will be a great success or an even greater failure.

What are your thoughts on Kansas Speedway? Reply in the comments section below.

Ryan Papaserge is a junior Journalism/Mass Communication student at St. Bonaventure University and a writing intern at Bleacher Report.

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