This past week at Bristol there were a lot of questions about the future of the dirt race and how NASCAR would handle the race in the future. While the race could be chalked up to a success, there was still a lot that needed to be improved on.
There is nobody better to ask these types of questions than Marcus Smith who owns Bristol. The Dale Jr. Download hosted Smith this week and Dale Jr. asked him a lot of questions regarding some of the scheduling and what can be done to be improved for next year’s dirt race. It was really insightful into what goes into these multi-million dollar decisions and I’d advise everyone to listen to it.
What I want to discuss specifically is a small detail that Smith mentioned that I thought was interesting and didn’t get a lot of attention. Here is the quote from the Dale Jr. Download after Dale Jr. asked him about the future of dirt racing at Bristol:
Smith: “You know, I think next year the race will be on dirt and the question is what about the cars?
Dale Jr.: “The new cars?”
Smith: “Is it going to be the new car? I think it’s going to be the new car. What changes will be made? It’ll be interesting; that’ll be the next part of this decision for NASCAR and the teams to think about. Everybody’s got thought about windshield, no windshield, forced air vs. under the car, and that kind of thing. So, it’ll be interesting to see what happens there.”
When you actually listen to the podcast you can hear some scattering in Smith’s voice after he started that quote, he seemed to be trying to backpedal on his initial thoughts. With that, Dale Jr. seemed to take the hint and move the questions away from the car.
It’s speculative, but I think what is being discussed here is that NASCAR is potentially looking into making some changes to the next-gen car when we do go back to Bristol next season. Now, if that is what’s going on here it’s more than likely things like no windshields and raising the cars higher off the ground.
If NASCAR does make special modifications to the next-gen car when teams go running on dirt, will it actually improve the racing? I think that while these cars worked fine on dirt, there are obviously some altercations that can be made to make things easier on the drivers as well as improving the racing on the track.
Would making too many altercations be straying away too far from a stock car for a points-paying event in the Cup Series? I doubt any altercations made would result in these things looking like modifieds, but it’s still interesting to think about how far something like this could go.