NASCAR on Dirt
This weekend marks the second-ever Cup series dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. NASCAR’s roots are in dirt racing, but the Cup series hadn’t raced on dirt in over 50 years before the race last year. A lot went into the decision to return to dirt, including attracting new fans while making the schedule more diverse and difficult for the drivers. There is also a lot of controversy regarding NASCAR being on dirt, with many not agreeing with the decision. Many believe that putting Cup Series cars on dirt is moving the sport backward, including both Richard Petty and Kyle Busch, two big names and influences in the sport. I see pros and cons to having a dirt race in NASCAR, and I would be fine with or without one.
Personally, I think NASCAR is doing the concept of a dirt race in the Cup Series wrong. For one, they are putting dirt on the best track on the circuit and taking a pavement Bristol race away from the schedule. But also, I think a dirt race would be a lot better if it was done on a purpose-built dirt track. A place like Eldora, for example, would be a few renovations away from being able to host a Cup Series event. This would save NASCAR a lot of time and money, while also bringing the series to a new venue and market.
Overall, NASCAR has a lot of potentials to improve in the running of a dirt race. They have already started by adding mud flaps to the cars and running the race at night to increase visibility for the drivers and fans. I think there can be a place for a dirt race in the Cup Series. It might be better as an all-star or exhibition race, but I think it can still exist.