As if 2020 hasn’t been the strangest year for news and things happening in the NASCAR industry and world in general, a new report from Sports Business Daily’s Adam Stern suggests that NASCAR and Speedway Motorsports Inc. are seriously considering running dirt races at Bristol Motor Speedway in NASCAR.
The report from Stern, which cites industry stakeholders says that the talks are still in the early stages and that there is no timetable for the first dirt NASCAR race at Bristol if it even is decided that they will go this route.
While this is an interesting idea, it seems a bit puzzling to me. While I know the World of Outlaws have run dirt races at BMS in the past, it just feels like this would continue to take part of the identity away from Bristol. Back in 2007, when SMI opted to grind down the banking in the turns at Bristol to alter the racing product it turned out to be a near fatal mistake.
Sure, the track became more prone to side-by-side and even three-wide racing at times, it ruined the typical routing and gouging style of driving that had become prevalent at the 0.533-mile track. The move was so bad that SMI reversed course a few years later and returned Bristol to it’s former state.
Following the progressive banking debacle, Bruton Smith said it was a rogue engineer on staff who made the decision to alter the track without cluing him in on the decision. Smith, after polling fans, opted to change the track back and hinted that SMI would never change the track again.
I feel a move to dirt, even for just one of the usual two-race dates, would potentially be a turn off for loyalists of the track as well.
Bristol isn’t broke. Why are we trying to fix it?
In a day in age where we still have 1.5-mile snoozefest races happening, we keep wanting to tinkering with one of the few tracks that actually works and works well. I can understand the move to a certain extent, but I would much rather NASCAR find a way to turn a different track into dirt or take a date away from a less desirable track in favor of a traditional dirt track.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.