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How long before excitement over new track gives way to cookie cutter blahs?

By admin | July 6, 2011



By Richard Allen


After trying virtually every way imaginable, from asking nicely to legal action to eventually selling out to a big corporation, the Kentucky Speedway has finally gotten itself on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. And for now at least, there is a certain degree of excitement surrounding the series debut for the facility situated between Louisville and Cincinnati. But, how long will it be before that excitement gives way to complaints and feelings of apathy toward another of the so-called cookie cutter tracks providing poor racing?

The NASCAR schedule is filled with D-shaped, tri-oval or quad-oval(whatever you want to label them) 1.5 to 2 mile tracks. Charlotte, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas, Las Vegas and Texas make up the somewhat similarly shaped 1.5 mile venues while Michigan and California are shaped the same with the difference being that they are 2 miles in length. So obviously, there is a great deal of sameness on the Sprint Cup schedule.

It would be fine that almost half the tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule look essentially the same if the racing on these tracks was filled with passing and excitement. Unfortunately, that often is not the case. Cars on these tracks tend to be very aero-sensitive, or highly dependent on ‘clean air’, and thus do not run well close together. That makes for a great deal of logging laps while spread far apart.

Moreover, it seems as if an inordinate number of races of late have turned out to be fuel mileage stretch runs in which drivers and crew chiefs spend as much or more time plotting how to save gas as they do figuring out how to pass other cars.

The combination of cookie cutter racing capped off by a fuel mileage stretch run at the end does sound very compelling, new track or old.

There have been Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races here, and little from those events indicates there will be any difference from the other similar facilities.

While it may seem unfair to judge a track before its first race has even taken the green flag, there is enough similarity here to indicate such a comparison is justified. This is not so much a new track as it is the same track as a number of others, just in a new location. The Sprint Cup race is a reported sellout. Hopefully, fans will see a great race. I’m just not so certain that will be the case.

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3 Responses to “How long before excitement over new track gives way to cookie cutter blahs?”

  1. jerseygirl Says:
    July 6th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    perfect summary, Rich. I’ll probably watch this Saturday since it’s the inaugural race (unless all we get is Waltrip, Waltrip, Waltrip because it’s in KY). After that, it will depend on whether or not it is worth the time. I know I won’t be traveling there, just like I’ll skip most of the other tracks you mentioned. I’d rather spend the money and go to Charlotte since I have family there.

  2. Dave Says:
    July 6th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I agree with you, Rich. Variety is the spice of life….but apparently not in NASCAR. I’ve often thought that losing the ground effects and aerodynamic aids would help. Just an arm chair crew chief here. I figure at least the cars wouldn’t look so sleek and would be more stock-appearing…even if it didn’t help the racing. Anyway, keep fighting the good fight.

  3. midasmicah Says:
    July 6th, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    We, as fans, already know this is just another boring 1 1/2 mile, D shaped track that nas$car keeps shing out.