Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NASCAR Took A Wrong Turn‏ by John "Dawg" Chapman

*As Race Mama is currently visiting the old country, I'm running the normal articles here on my blog - Mad Mikie* 
If you read my last article on Talladega, then you know I thought the racing sucked.
Well Martinsville was another story. Depending on who you root for, & how things turned out for them. I'm sure that a lot of fans were disappointed with the outcome. That having been said, I really don't see how anyone  didn't enjoy the race itself.
Guys, & Gals, this was the kind of racing that NASCAR was built on.
Last week, when I was ragging on Talladega, & the kind of racing that the Chase has produced so far. I said that the Chase needed tracks that had the potential to produce barn burners. Well call the Fire Department, this race was a five alarm Burn Burner.
Martinsville, coupled with the intensity of the Chase, produced a race that was a throwback to the days that we all say we want to see again. This thing kind of turned into Brian Vickers, vs. the field.
We had Junior looking racy as hell. He didn't win, or even really threaten to, but he was in there digging, & we haven't seen that for a while. We saw Matt lose his temper, lots of fans didn't even know he had one. Some  good runs, turned out badly, some gambles paid off, some didn't.
I consider myself a fairly sophisticated race fan. I don't watch to see wrecks, but I do enjoy good hard nosed, take no prisoners racing. I didn't see any of this "after you, no after you, want to lead a lap, come on," type racing.
But, & as Pee Wee Herman (not to be confused with Kyle Busch, who just looks like him) says, "everyone's got a big but." but I digress.
My but, is that the rare race like this, only makes what we normally see on the cookie cutter heavy schedule look worse. If this one was meat, & potatoes, then most of what NASCAR is serving up is cold oatmeal, without cream, sugar, or blueberries.
It's fashionable to blame all of NASCAR's troubles on Brian, & I've been known to lay a little on him, from time to time myself. This one's  primarily on his Dad.
It's kind of hard for a Sport that only turns left, (with two notable exceptions) to take a wrong turn, but they did. In short NASCAR, in the '90s under Bill France's leadership, took a wrong turn by deciding that Short Tracks, the tracks that built NASCAR, for the most part. Had outlived their usefulness. NASCAR had outgrown them. This is when it stopped being about the racing, & became about the money. In other words it's when NASCAR, became NA$CAR.
In those days people were still building tracks, in hopes of getting a NASCAR Cup date. Once Bill let it be known that NASCAR, at least at the Cup level, didn't want Short Tracks, no more were built.
Someone could have built another Bristol, but once the word was out, the Cookie Cutter came out, & we got Texas, Chicago, Kansas, Kentucky, Las Vegas.
With Bills blessing, in '96 North Wilkesboro, a 5/8 mile track that had hosted NASCAR races since 1949 was sold off, & pulled apart like a Thanksgiving Turkey. Bruton Smith, & Bob Bahre, picked the bones. Sending one race to Texas, the other to New Hampshire.
In 2003 when Brian took the helm, he continued full speed ahead in the direction that NASCAR was headed. NASCAR tried to shovel dirt on their very first Super Speedway. Darlington had been holding races since 1950. With it's peculiar egg shape it was, & is, one of a kind. It's Labor Day Southern 500  was second only to the Daytona 500. The Southern 500 date was sent to California to give them a second date.
They then saddled Darlington with the Mothers Day date. A date previously open, & considered a date doomed to fail. It's a credit to the fans that this date has been successful, & we've been spared another boring Cookie Cutter race.
In 2004 NASCAR kicked Rockingham Motor Speedway to the curb. They sent one of it's dates to Fontana. Then sold the track to Bruton, to give him a second date for Texas.
Andy Hillenburg currently owns The Rock, & is putting in soft walls. The track should be ready once again to host a Cup date, but I seriously doubt that pride would ever allow this to happen.
To my knowledge, California has never held a decent race, & when NASCAR needed a second date for Kansas, California was elected. So a date that came from either The Rock, or Darlington, went from one boring track to another boring track. But a boring track with a Casino, this move might help the bottom line but the racing still sucks.
The Rock is still without a Cup date. Darlington still doesn't have it's Labor Day date back. After a brave, but underfunded effort, weeds are once again growing in North Wilkesboro. The racing still mostly sucks. Except for that rare shining example like we just witnessed.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
You can contact Dawg at:


  1. Well done. If I might add a few more need to change items, scrap the chase, and the top 35 crap, and the shoot out in Feb at Daytona must go back to pole sitters from previous year, and most of all, loose the spec series car. Safer is great, but looking like and shaped like the car on the show room floor is a must.

  2. With you 100% . But Brain Farce will not listen while Nascar slowly sinks (only slowly because it got big) ..1.5m cookie cutters are DULL Dull & it will show in future revenues & THEN Brain might listen. But by then there will be no big tv contracts etc. (have you ever tried to get an ex customer back) The once Proud Nascar has turned into na$car & except for last Sunday (that was GREAT) it has been a waste of my time this year & I'm spending less of it with nascar. We canceled our track trips as well (from last year) The only tracks worth the $ now appear to be Martinsville/Darlington/Phoenix (based on they screwed this up) & the road courses Signed Earner

  3. We were at the race in Martinsville. The best race of the season. They were all racing! That's what I went to see, not wrecking, but racing. Yeah, Vickers certainly seemed out of control but then again he got damaged in that first caution that BTW Jr caused and played catch up after that. Was he driving rough? Yeah, but no more than again, the famous driver of the 88 car. When he got physical with Kenseth, Matt the brat didn't like it and the 17 car deliberately wrecked Vickers.

    This was the first race in a long time that I didn't want to find a place to take a nap in the middle of it.

    Sorry but Bill France wouldn't have continued down the path that his 3rd generation - banker boy - has gone. The brick on wheels, the chase and the stranglehold on sponsorship that should go to the race teams, not NASCAR, all that belongs to BZF.

  4. Seriously that race was a snoozer 18 cautions isnt a race thats more like a demo derby! Hate to say it I for one am very VERY VERYYY happy were off to Texas this weekend! i watch Nascar for the racing and we will see a race this weekend! There will be no 2 car tango, and there for sure wont be 18 cautions thank god! I've been a die hard since 2004 and sorry buddy but we have enough short tracks on the 36 race season! i will be at Phoenix now thats the perfect race track! Wish Cali had more races as well

  5. Great Column! Rockingham,Darlington, and
    Wilkesboro were my favorites growing up.

  6. Right on. Read my mind. Desperately need more short tracks!!!