NASCAR Does Not Need More Dirt Races

(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

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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3 Comments

    • Michael –
      First, thanks for reading! We appreciate that. Second, I assume by your comment you would like to see more dirt races? If so, that is perfectly fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, which is what I have given here. Would it be awesome to see more dirt races? Absolutely. Unfortunately, I fear we would saturate the series’ with them and they would lose this level of excitement you and I obviously share. The Truck Series needs something to make it unique. Eldora has provided that and it draws a significant amount of attention. If we allow other series to have a dirt race, the truck series will get swept under the rug once again. I do not want to see that happen.
      As far as your comment, you are extremely ill-informed. I have not only been a fan of all motorsports for as long as I can remember, I have also worked in the sport and driven race cars for many years. I love it dearly and I want to see it succeed. If you feel my opinion makes me a “non-fan”, I am good company as just yesterday Steve Letarte echoed these same sentiments. I think he qualifies as a fan right?
      I am sure you are a great fan as well. Thanks again for reading and please come back to read again.
      In fact, if you have opinions and some writing ability, I will gladly provide you a forum to share you thoughts even if they differ from mine. If you think I am kidding, just ask our NASCAR journalist, Ricky Whittenburg how he got his start!

  1. He’s right. I am a loud mouthed fan who became a NASCAR journalist by sharing my opinions! And I actually disagree about the dirt track deal. I think three dirt tracks on the CWTS schedule would be great. I don’t see it as taking the luster away from Eldora. Especially when you have some of the 1.5 mile races in the CWTS series being ran in front of a couple of thousand fans. A packed 10,000-30,000 dirt track would be more appealing IMO.

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