In 2013 when NASCAR announced the Camping World Truck Series would compete on the dirt at Eldora Speedway it was a breath of fresh air for the sport.
With lackluster attendance and falling television ratings, the announcement that NASCAR was going back to dirt created significant interest from both long-time and new fans alike. Traditionalists immediately became nostalgic about the fact the sport was going back to its roots on dirt tracks.
As the trucks return to Eldora this week, we once again hear the comments from many fans wanting NASCAR to add more dirt races. This week Tony Stewart, owner of the Eldora Speedway, began echoing those sentiments.
“Maybe one of these days we’ll get an Xfinity or Cup race here, we have proven you can run the vehicles here,” Stewart said in an interview on Sirius NASCAR Radio on Tuesday. “We have proven that the truck drivers who have never been on dirt before can get around the track really well. “If a truck can get around here, then an Xfinity or a Cup car can too. Who knows?
Stewart called on the fans to help his cause saying, “Fans, if you’re out there, think about starting to put some pressure on NASCAR.”
In recent years NASCAR has made many changes based on fans complaints. (A fact to which many attribute many of the problems in the sport today.) This is big reason why Stewart would call on the fans to help put the pressure on the sanctioning body.
I love the dirt racing and I love to see the trucks at Eldora. They put on a great show and it’s something different. It builds a great excitement in NASCAR, which needs all it can get.
That being said, NASCAR does not need to add more dirt races. The fact that it is the only one makes it unique. It makes it special. It makes it exciting. If we add several more dirt races to the schedule, it will no longer be “special”. It will become just another race.
We saw this happen at Bristol. When Bristol added the night race, everyone loved it. It was different, exciting and special. Everyone wanted to go to the night race. It was so popular, it wasn’t long until we began to see many other night races. Now, they are commonplace and just another race. It has lost its unique appeal. Now it’s no big deal at all.
That is exactly what will happen if NASCAR adds more dirt races to the schedule. It will lose its appeal and it will be just another race.
One of the downfalls of this sport, and perhaps many other sports, when that magic something comes along, we immediately see the mentality of “If one is awesome, ten will be truly amazing”. It’s actually quite the opposite. One is awesome because it’s unique. If there’s multiples, it becomes ho-hum. Need I remind you about the 1.5-mile phenomenon?
We as a society want what we don’t have or more of what we have only a few. This is no different. If we add more dirt races, attendance will fall at each one, excitement will give way to boredom, and we will begin to search for the next big thing. All the while complaining that NASCAR does nothing to make the sport better.
Let’s take advice from PT Barnum, one of the greatest promoters who ever lived, “Always leave them wanting more”.
Great advice that definitely applies to NASCAR fans.
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