Let's Get Dirty, NASCAR!

Currently NASCAR runs on many track lenghts; 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile, 1 mile, 1 1/2 mile, 2 mile, 2 1/2 mile oval & 2.66 mile tri oval, 2.5 mile road course and 4 mile road course, with a few track that are in-between those mile markers.  As you can imagine the playing field is very different each week, but for me, something is missing.

Now, for those too young or for those who don’t recall, once upon a time NASCAR ran mostly on dirt tracks. Daytona was originally run on the beach and down the main drag in-town before the Super Speedway was built. The last time that our good ole’ boys ran dirt in a points event was September of 1970 at North Carolina Fairgrounds, in Raleigh, NC with Richard Petty taking the checkered flag and James Hylton coming in 4th.  Yes, the same James Hylton that attempted to qualify at the young age of 74 for the 2009 Daytona 500.

I’m not sure how many share my thoughts, but I’ve been saying to myself “Heck, it would be something to watch these guys run a dirt track in a points race”.  I’m willing to bet my house that the drivers would love to run a dirt points event, as most of these guys started on dirt. During my annual trips to Watkins Glen I’ve gone down to the local dirt track, BlackRock, and watched a few of these NASCAR drivers run the sprints for fun.  Look no further than the invite list of guys that run on Tony Stewart’s half mile dirt track, Eldora.  The  last three years of Eldora’s annual charity race has been won by Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson – pretty elite company, wouldn’t you say?  So what’s the hold up?

The word handed down from NASCAR is that it’s too expensive and the teams would need to construct an entirely new car to run these races – by the way, don’t you have to do that already for the twists and turns of both Watkins Glen and Sonoma? I think the real problem at hand is finding a venue that will hold the masses. Just like all pro sports, NASCAR needs a place to hold a dirt track race that will make sense – and by sense I really mean “cents”, and a lot of them. It’s very unlikely that they can have a race with 10,000 fans and still make good coin. With all the tracks that have been built in the last decade I think that it’s high time that someone finally pony-up the pennies and build a dirt track to rival a track like Martinsville or Bristol. I, for one, know that if a dirt track is built and a race is run, I will be there for the first event and I’m sure many of you would be, too.  To borrow from A Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come”.

…and that is the last word.

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