You know, after the All-Star race it’s always the same refrain “It was boring” “It was confusing” and I get it..it is boring. At the end of the day, it’s Stock cars running around in a circle, making pit stops once in a while. This year, it seemed to be amplified, and why? Because we already have stages at every race as it is, so there’s nothing different there. For some reason NASCAR added a bizarre twist this year by adding an “option tire”, and (as NASCAR loves to do) put a damper on the tire with a new rule. You have to put on 4, but you can take off 2 if you want, once you take them off, you can’t put them back on. Yeah, I didn’t get it either.
So what can be done? Well if we look at the Charlotte Motor Speedway as a whole, we see the complex has the 1.5 mile oval sure, it also has a 1/4 mile dragstrip, a 4/10’s dirt oval and a road course in the oval infield. So why not explore the options available?
Wouldn’t it be cool to see the “Stars” of NASCAR on a dirt track? We hear every year after the Eldora Truck race that the Cup cars would be awesome on a dirt track, so lets try it. They run the Trucks on dirt at Eldora, and more than a handful of drivers have experience on dirt, so it’s not like the know how isn’t there, heck Goodyear even makes a tire for it. Eldora is a half mile oval, and the Dirt track at Charlotte is only slightly shorter – It can be done.
Then there’s the road course. We already run 2, and with this road course on the schedule to be part of the season in 2018 it might be nice for the Cup cars to see the road course in advance even in a limited sense. It’s there, may as well use it now.
Now we come to the Drag strip. The “Wildcard”. Honestly, outside of Kurt Busch i’m not sure how much Drag racing experience Cup drivers have, but it would be pretty cool to see the Cup cars on the Dragstrip. Run them 4 wide like the NHRA pros. Top 2 move on and other 2 are done. Single eliminations with 2 qualifying sessions. To me, this track is the most interesting. Let the crews set up the cars as they see fit, to accelerate 1/4 mile at a shot and see what happens. I would expect to see mid 10’s at between 125 and 130 MPH, maybe more, who knows.
It really wouldn’t need to be 1 or the other of these ideas, In my mind it would be a combination of the tracks. Maybe Thursday at the dragstrip, Friday at the Dirt track and the finale on Saturday on the big oval. No extra travel involved, same car all weekend (of course they always have a back up on hand). Each track awarding points for wins and positions, with the finale a lets say 200 mile shootout on the Big oval. Who knows what we might find? Maybe Matt DiBenedetto is a master drag racer, and wins his way into the finale, or maybe Danica turns out to be a dirt track whiz, and wins her way in. One thing for sure it would spice up the All Star race.
What about ticket sales? The drag strip seats way less than the oval, and the dirt track even less so, tickets would be at a premium. I for one would love to see a drag race between Logano, Johnson, Earnhardt and Busch. Given the opportunity would definitely go, and dirt tracks are popular across the country. If the tickets to these events were a little more exclusive then the oval, and they sell out, all the better.
The crossover aspect for the NHRA and NASCAR are unreal, for 2 sanctioning bodies on the rebuild, the possibility to grow into other markets would be amazing, put some hard core drag racers onto NASCAR and put some NASCAR fans onto the NHRA. For sure if needed, we could get some NHRA pros there on a Thursday night (even if it’s a NHRA race weekend, they don’t race until Friday), heck for that matter get a couple NHRA officials and announcers to help out.
At the end of the day, given what the All Star race is, it would be great to see it expanded and use the facility’s available to NASCARs advantage. Mix up the show and create some excitement where it is sorely lacking. Throw the Cup guys a curve ball and see who comes out a true “All Star”
Ba safe and have fun.
On a side note. If you want to have a little fun between races, be sure and follow Riki Ratchman on his ride across America this year, yes the same Riki from the Cathouse, Headbangers Ball and currently host of Racing Rocks radio. he is raising awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and raising money for the Claires Place foundation. A worthy cause that we here at Lit and Loud fully support.