This weekend at Martinsville was the best weekend of the year and NASCAR
should take the hint about why this weekend was so amazing.
Look at Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
race at Martinsville Speedway
. Despite what side fans fall on there is no doubt about one thing. It was fun. Whether you were on Team RCR or Team Harvick or even somewhere in-between there was no doubt about it. It was fun. It was fun for the fans, media members and maybe even some of the drivers to watch two passionate racecar drivers argue over space on the race track. It was like old times again.
Sunday’s Cup Series race was no different. Sure it wasn’t as crazy as Saturday’s event was but watching the most experienced veteran in the field Sunday go out and win his 88th career race was fun. It came down to a true late race pass that happened when one car lost the handle and the other one went underneath and powered on by to win. It was a true stock car race. There was no fake yellow flag thrown to cause drama with 50 or 25 laps to go. There was no clean air advantage the let Matt Kenseth
pull away from the field where no one could catch him, no Martinsville provided the best race of the year and fans everywhere loved it.
It was really refreshing to read twitter on Saturday and Sunday and see positive tweets. People may not have known why Martinsville was so great they just knew they wanted to see more of it. The sport was built on tracks like Martinsville, Bristol and North Wilkesboro Speedway
that were one lane race tracks where beating and banging were a must if you wanted to pass someone. It always created action and always entertained the fans. North Wilkesboro left the schedule after the 1996 season and Bruton Smith
changed Bristol to make it easier to pass, losing the extra drama that was always awesome to watch at the end of those races. Martinsville is the only track left on the schedule that is truly one groove.
Martinsville took away the ‘clean air’ factor that every fan dreads when the sport heads to a cookie cutter track. In fact aerodynamics didn’t play a role in the outcome at all. It was all about how you could get to the front and if your car handled good. That’s what NASCAR
Racing was built on. That’s the thing that made the sport “America’s Fastest Growing Spectator Sport” in the 1990’s. The driver meant so much for once at Martinsville. Clean air, horsepower and fuel mileage didn’t mean a thing at Martinsville. It just came down to racing. That’s how it should be.
grew from the short tracks in North Carolina to become a National sport NASCAR
got away from some of the racetracks that helped make the sport great. Look at a track like Rockingham Speedway, which is now off the Camping World Truck Series
schedule for who knows what reason. That track provides great racing every time NASCAR
races there. You can pass, lean on each other, the drivers are in control and handling is a major factor. Aerodynamics don’t come into play nearly as much at those type of racetracks as they do at the cookie cutter tracks. That is refreshing to fans.
’s popularity has stalled over the last eight to ten seasons. Whether it was the drivers getting too vanilla or the “car of tomorrow” which looked and raced ugly, fans didn’t respond the same way they once had to NASCAR
and it made some people in the sport wonder what had gone wrong. Racetracks in the 1990’s and early 2000’s were building 80,000 seats at and selling them out. Now many racetracks are putting sponsor ads over seats or tearing them down completely. However, the answer is not hard to find.
If you compare Martinsville’s race on Sunday to next Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway the answer would be clear. Entertainment! That’s the business NASCAR
is in and anyone who doesn’t think short tracks are entertaining just isn’t paying attention. There were people tweeting Saturday that NASCAR
should run at Martinsville five times a year and you know what? I don’t blame them for saying that.
After a season that had been filled with drivers spinning to intentionally cause a caution to help a driver or cookie cutter racetracks that have made clean air become such a huge factor NASCAR
fans have become bored. Fans have stopped showing up. Fans wondered if it could get better. That was until Martinsville on Sunday.
Martinsville provided fans with an action packed weekend that made you feel like you were in the 1990’s again. It made you feel like you were watching America’s Fastest Growing Sport. NASCAR
should take the hint. Bring back the short tracks. Iowa Speedway is a great track, however, it is not the one lane short track that Martinsville is. Iowa will provide great racing and passing if and when it
comes to the schedule, but it won’t provide the entertainment Martinsville does.
Mark my words, in three years Martinsville will be the hottest ticket on the schedule just like Bristol used to be. The fans are telling you something NASCAR
. Look at the crowd at Martinsville this Sunday. I bet your television ratings were up as well.
We, as a sport, need to take a step back and remove ourselves from these empty 1.5 mile racetracks and realize they are doing nothing but ruining the sport. If we build more tracks like Martinsville the sport will continue to grow and entertain for years to come. If we don’t well we’re just going to have a repeat of the last ten years, which would be a disaster.
For the first time since September I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I didn’t watch Football until Martinsville was over. The last 50 laps of that race were so entertaining you couldn’t change the channel. You couldn’t take your eyes of it. That’s what made NASCAR
America’s Fastest Growing Sport and that is how great NASCAR
can be. That is what this sport needs more of.
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Tags: Bristol Motor Speedway
, Bruton Smith
, Camping World Truck Series
, martinsville speedway
, matt kenseth
, North Wilkesboro Speedway
, richmond international raceway
, Sprint Cup Series