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  • Reddick Takes Youth And Experience To Eldora Dirt By Chris Slone

    By: Chris Slone Sports Editor Portsmouth Daily Times Follow Chris on Twitter: @crslone On a Saturday night, with dirt flying through the air as the cars are slipping and sliding through every imminent corner, the crowd becomes more engaged, lap after lap. As the cars navigate through the…

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MRD Battle Round-Indy To Eldora, The Good, The Bad And The Dirty

Written by Stephen on . Posted in Featured, Nascar Camping World Truck Series, Nascar Nationwide Series, Nascar Sprint Cup Series

HHP/Tim Parks

HHP/Tim Parks

7-28-14

Question 1: Tony Stewart and Roger Slack both said following the Mudsummer Classic that the this race blew last years out of the water, and that the changes to the race track have increased the competition in every series that has raced there, with that said Tony is very up on the idea of one of NASCAR’s other two major series coming to Eldora. Is it time for the cars to hit the dirt and would the All-Star race be a good one to use as a “trial”?

Holly Blake: IF they held another NASCAR sanctioned event there I think perhaps the NNS could be a consideration. I do not think the facilities are on par to host a NSCS race. Not enough capacity.  County roads.  Limited hotels etc. I’m sure they could negotiate with a farmer nearby the track for camping but I don’t see cup races there. I also believe there is finesse in driving a dirt car that is required as well as different equipment set up. Too many cons in my opinion.

David Morgan: I’m torn on this one. On one hand, I’d love to see the NNS and NSCS cars bombing around Eldora, but on the other hand, I don’t want the Truck Series race to become less than the spectacle it is now and if the other series make their way to Eldora, I’m afraid that may just happen. I’d say no for the NNS and NSCS cars coming for a points event, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t hold an exhibition race of some sort at the track.

Chris Slone: It comes as no surprise that Tony Stewart is open — more like extremely hopefully — that NASCAR will bring its top two series to the dirt scene at Eldora. I would be open to the idea as well, with one exception, it should not be a points race. Actually, the Camping World Truck Series event should be an exhibition or fan-fest style race, not a race for points.    Having a points race on dirt changes the game, as Ty Dillon, Ryan Blaney and Matt Crafton all eluded too before the race. Dillon, who competed for a Truck-Series championship a season ago, raced conservatively during the inaugural event at Eldora.  This year, Blaney and Crafton both admitted they had to race conservatively on the dirt surface because of the championship standings.    The racing race terrific, but it would have been better as an exhibition race. I’d like to see the Nationwide Series or Sprint Cup Series take a shot at Eldora in an exhibition format, whatever that format might be, but no, I would not use the All-Star race as a trial.

Stephen Conley: Stewart and Slack both know the investment it would take to bring a Sprint Cup race to Eldora and from what it sounds, they are all in, in this effort. Stewart said he has a partner that would be willing to put a dome over the speedway, he also said they would invest the money in increasing the seating upwards of an additional 20,000 seats if need be. So the willingness to do what it takes is certainly there. I’m not sure about the rest, and what I mean is “outside” of the track, traffic flow and the hotels, but I also look at what Kentucky went thru. Time and money can cure a lot of of those ills.
If they could do it as a one day show, sure hotels are not an issue, plenty of camping in the area, so that would not be a problem. The track is no stranger to large events and the town of Rossburg seems to welcome it all, but would NASCAR be willing to risk it, right now it seems the answer is no as they said they are not prepared for a Nationwide and Sprint Cup to be on dirt.
I for one, would be there with bells on.

BRICKYARD 400

HHP/Rusty Jarrett

Question 2: Pit strategy was the name of the game at Indianapolis in both the Cup and Nationwide races, Will this be a continuing trend at Indy in future years and with the fact the overall quality of racing is “lack luster”, might this be something that helps to bring fans and interest to the race?

HB:  I saw several comments about the race being boring today. I think boredom comes from fans who have a favorite driver but do not appreciate the sport. I may catch some heat for this but I know some of these people.
I think there is strategy in every race. Some are just more prominent and noticeable than others. Some fans dislike fuel strategy races. Some dislike the pit stop strategy. It all plays into who has the a advantage and who can gain the most with the right call at the right time.

DM: Racing at Indy has always been pretty lackluster from my point of view. The fact of the matter is the place was built for IndyCars not stock cars and the track and the aerodynamics of a stock car make passing tough. The most passing that takes place at the track usually only happens on restarts or through pit strategy. Not sure what can be done about it, but from the look of the crowd on Sunday, the fans aren’t too keen on the quality of the racing at Indianapolis either.

CS: The lack of racing was below average, that fact isn’t debatable. The pit strategy is interesting and is becoming a bigger part of each race because of equality of all the race cars and teams. However, fans don’t attend races to watch pit strategy, they attend to watch the on-track racing. And Sunday, the action on the track was below par. As a race fan, I would have been content sitting at home, watching the race and saving my money.

SC: I honestly think the pit strategy race is turning the fans off, they don’t like the fuel races already, the tire debacle of 2008 certainly turned a lot of fans off as attendance dropped to an estimated 80-90,000 from a 2007 total of over 125,000. On a race track where you can’t see every turn from your seat and may not realize what is going on with strategy, all you see is a jumbled up line of cars, one fan that was at the race told me he was tempted to leave early because of the strategy, It was extremely hard keeping up with where a driver was, why they were coming thru turn three 15 spots back of where they were and the radio network at Indy wasn’t doing a good job of explaining who pitted and what they did.
Indy is in trouble in the fans eyes and this style of racing, while good for the drivers, is not worth the money fans have to lay down to attend this race.

2014 Nationwide Indy

Russell LaBounty/NKP

Question 3: Even with the 3 car in victory lane on Saturday, fans still were unhappy with the Nationwide series at the Brickyard. Is NASCAR keeping this race purely for a financial gain, and would they be better served returning that series back across town to Indianapolis Raceway Park?

HB: I am biased with this topic. I don’t think they should have gone away from Raceway Park. I do think it is a great opportunity for the younger drivers to race at the Brickyard however I believe that series is more competitive, more fun to watch and draws a crowd at Raceway Park and I believe that’s where it belongs.

DM: Yes, winning at Indianapolis is cool for any driver in any series, but Indianapolis Motor Speedway needs to remain a Cup Series only venue. For years, IRP put on some fantastic races to complement the Brickyard 400 across town and the Nationwide Series needs to look at moving back to IRP because the fact of the matter is the action in a short track race on Saturday night will always beat out a single file parade on the mammoth 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

CS: First of all, it was exciting to see Ty Dillon win his first Nationwide race. Anytime the No. 3 visits victory lane, it’s a big deal. However, like the cup event, the Nationwide race wasn’t terribly exciting, except on restarts. Maybe that’s the answer, NASCAR needs to throw the caution flag after three laps of racing and just let the fans watch a race full of restarts. Was there any better action during the entire race than the first two laps after the green flag was displayed?    OK, since that far-fetched hypothetical situation won’t come to fruition, then yes, I’d like to see the Nationwide series return to Indianapolis Raceway Park.  First of all, short track racing is typically better. Secondly, I’m a proponent of having the Nationwide regulars race at different tracks than the cup drivers. Stand alone events are usually more enjoyable and it gives fans a true barometer on who the stars of tomorrow are going to be. I could care a less about turning on a Nationwide race and watching Sprint Cup drivers dominate the field with a few series regulars sprinkled in the mix. However, for financial reason, NASCAR will never give up a Nationwide event at the Brickyard to return to IRP.

SC: Every day we here from fans saying we need more short track races, so in a day where you (NASCAR) say’s you are listening to the fans, why would you take a short track off the schedule, other than for an increas in financial gain. I understand NASCAR is a buisness now, but when your paying clients (fans) are unhappy with the product from day one and aren’t showing up, how long can you can you continue turn a blind eye. IRP has always put on a great race, but as we always, “What’s good for the fans, isn’t always good for the drivers”. That was typically the case at IRP, the fans loved it because of the close quarters racing but that style tends to stress the drivers out because of that exact reason. Indianapolis certainly gives big opportunities for young drivers to race at a historical venue, and for Ty Dillon, untill he is kissing the bricks after 400 miles…Saturday will be the biggest moment of his career. The big track doesn’t need to be on the NASCAR schedule at all, but if it stays, it should ONLY be a cup race.

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