LEMASTERS: More Short Tracks Please!


If you’re a real race fan…and if you’re reading this, I think you’re qualified!…then ask yourself this question: what kind of NASCAR racing do I like to watch?

If it’s racing on a 1.5-mile cookie-cutter, please put down your copy of NSSN, take your temperature and try again. If you still want to see 1.5-mile cookie-cutter racing, we’ll send an intervention team designed to help you see the light.

I’m kidding, of course. We don’t have an intervention team.

There’s nothing wrong with 1.5-mile cookie-cutter tracks…that can’t be fixed by only racing half the distance. Sunday’s race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway is a prime example. That place is only .526 miles around, but it had twice the action as the race at Kansas Speedway, or at Auto Club Speedway, or even Charlotte Motor Speedway.

I understand why the Chase is structured as it is; more butts in seats means more cashola at the end of the day. Bigger markets mean bigger excitement, and it’s all about the excitement, right?

That would be fine, except it seems to me that the best racing takes place far from the bright lights, out in the middle of fly-over country. Martinsville’s total population, lined up in a straight line, wouldn’t even make it down the road to U.S. 58, but that little place sure puts on a good show.

For that matter, while you’re adding Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Richmond, North Wilkesboro (N.C.) and Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway back into the schedule, grab the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve while you’re at it. I’d pay good money to see the Sprint Cup guys race there.

Add a dirt component and go to Eldora Speedway, Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway and Springfield (Illinois State Fairgrounds); take a side trip to Winchester (Ind.) Speedway to see which one of those guys is a real man and which has metrosexual tendencies.

Give me anything but another 1.5-mile cookie cutter…I beg you.

I know that will never happen, but a guy can dream, right? Martinsville, to me, is what’s good about the sport. The bigger tracks are all fine and good, but not for the Chase. For the Chase, for the title, you need a true test of skill and endurance.

How about a 24-hour race at Nelson Ledges, just to keep things interesting? Draw the tracks out of a hat while you’re cleaning up the confetti at Homestead…I really think that might be the thing that saves NASCAR!