I am not going to try to re-invent the wheel here, but there are a few aspects of the Bristol Motor Speedway that I just don’t ‘get’. But before I go any further, there has to be something unique about almost 200K fans packed in a college football type stadium to watch a Nascar race. That is a spectacle in itself. But is it really 'racing the way it ought to be'?
When I look back at the “new generation” (sometimes AKA Cookie Cutter) of Nascar tracks that were built in the past 10 to 15 or so years, just what were the complaints that we heardthe most? Then lets compare that to Bristol, BUT maybe more importantly, not simply complain, but I’d like to attempt to offer a solution.
Number one complaint: “tracks are one grooved and don’t promote passing or side by side racing”
If that is not BRISTOL then what is? Nowhere in the planet is the chrome horn needed as much in order to pass the car ahead of you than BMS.
SOLUTION: While the highest banking in Nascar is something to be admired, maybe the time has come to revert back to a lesser degree of banking, one that would allow for an asphalt surface. The cars have developed more down-force than ever before, let unleash them and go back to racing and not punting.
Complaint number two: “tracks that allow ‘fuel mileage’ and ‘pit strategy’ to be a factor is not real racing, racing should be decided on the track”
While this is related to ‘number one’, it is no fun watching races where the car that short pitted at the earliest possible lap and got track position, and then can hold off for 130 or so laps the other cars that pitted after for a race win. That is just not ‘racing’ SOLUTION: How about a softer tire (might provide more grip for multi groove passing) and maybe more importantly a smaller fuel cell, something that would force teams to pit every 70 or so laps at the most. (Have to give a shout out to a good buddy for that one, great idea Jamie!)
Complaint number three: ‘TeVee can’t follow the action when the field spreads out and one loses the flow of the race and we miss stuff’
This might be a problem at any track, but I really struggle with the coverage at BMS for one main reason, the camera is switching from camera to camera every second or so, but not always following the same car. This is especially a problem at BMS for some reason.
SOLUTION: There probably is no real solution to this, unless Nascar offers ‘pay per view’, but that is another story. But does anyone else find himself or herself scanning ‘Trackpass’ and just watching ‘their’ driver, more than the TeVee coverage? I have.
I guess for most of the Nascar faithful, the allure of Bristol is the possibility of ‘contact racing’. But the product of that contact is something that many criticize about racing at plate tracks. That is where an incident can take out half or more of the field. (Aka the Big One) Now I am not going to say this happens at Bristol, but instead on one ‘big one’, there is a good chance of having 20 or so ‘little ones’, depleting the field. But like plate racing, BMS simply put is just another style of racing, like road courses, plate tracks and such. I am just glad that we only have to watch this two times a year.
But then again, after all of my ‘complaining’, I’ll be watching Saturday night as usual. So Bristol must be doing something right.