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5 Most Important Things to Know about the 2023 SRX Series

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Thursday Night Thunder returns tonight with Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham’s Superstar Racing Experience at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. There’s a lot of new to take in this year from drivers to TV partners to tracks. Here are five things to watch for in the Superstar Racing Experience.

1. 16 Current and Former NASCAR Drivers will run At Least One Race

Not only do the series founders have NASCAR flavor in Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart, but the drivers do as well. Two current NASCAR drivers, Hallie Deegan and Brad Keselowski, will run the full season. Four more former drivers will also run the full slate, including Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, and Kenny Schrader.

Current drivers running a partial schedule include

  • Kevin Harvick (Stafford and Berlin)
  • Denny Hamlin (Stafford)
  • Daniel Suarez (Thunder Road)
  • Kyle Busch (Motor Mile and Berlin)
  • Austin Dillon (Eldora).

Former drivers running the partial schedule are

  • Clint Bowyer (Stafford, Motor Mile, and IRP)
  • Greg Biffle (Thunder Road)
  • Kenny Wallace (Thunder Road and IRP)
  • Kasey Kahne (Berlin)
  • Matt Kenseth (Eldora)

2. The Schedule is Completely Revamped From Last Season

On this year’s six race calendar, only the opening race at Stafford is a returning venue from last year. Eldora Speedway in Ohio was both left off of the schedule in 2022, but they ran SRX races in 2021. The other four venues are totally new to the SRX.

Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont will host the second race of the season on July 20, and this 0.25 mile paved race track was founded by famous NASCAR broadcaster Ken Squier. Motor Mile Speedway in Pulaski County, Virginia will host the third race on July 27, and the 0.416 mile track has experienced a recent resurgence after falling out of NASCAR sanctioning in the late 2010s.

Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan will host the fourth race of the season on August 3, and the 0.4375 mile track has been a consistent piece of the ARCA Menards Series schedules with winners including Bob Keselowski, Grant Enfinger, Chris Buescher, and Erik Jones.

Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri, will host the season finale on August 17th, and the 3/8 mile track will be the lone new dirt track on the schedule.

3. The Schedule Follows the NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

Five of the six SRX races this season is within reasonable driving distance of whatever Cup Series race is happening either the week before or after. NASCAR is in New England this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and it just happens to sit halfway between Thunder Road and Stafford Speedway for New England race fans. Motor Mile Speedway sits in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about three and a half hours from Richmond Raceway, where NASCAR will be the following weekend.

Eric Estepp pointed out in his most recent Out of the Groove how he will be going to the SRX race at Marne, Michigan and the NASCAR weekend at Michigan International Speedway with Berlin Raceway only a couple of hours away. The SRX precedes NASCAR and Indy Car double-header at Indianapolis by racing just a couple hours away at Eldora the Thursday prior.

4. Not Only Superstar Drivers, but Superstar Broadcasters

Popular racing commentators will reprise their former roles this season in the SRX. Current Indianapolis Motor Speedway P.A. announcer and former NASCAR on NBC/ESPN commentator Allen Bestwick will serve as the lap-by-lap commentator. Former NASCAR on NBC/TNT/FOX pit reporter Matt Yocum will be the pit reporter, and former NASCAR on ESPN studio host Nicole Briscoe will be the studio host.

The analyst role will rotate between three different drivers. Current NASCAR star Joey Logano will be the color commentator at Stafford, Berlin, and Eldora, and current race car driver Connor Daly will be color at Motor Mile and Lucas Oil.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip will return to the booth at Thunder Road.

5. ESPN Returns to American Motorsports

ESPN used to be the place to be for motorsports in the U.S. with NASCAR, IndyCar, and everything in-between. At the end of the 2014 season, NASCAR was gone from the network, and IndyCar left following 2018 ending a 54 year run of the Indianapolis 500 on ABC. Now, all ESPN has is simulcasting the SkySports broadcast of Formula One, which is a far-cry from the way networks like SPEED and NBC used to broadcast F1.

This is the first time that ESPN has broadcasted American motorsports in half a decade. Many NASCAR fans decry the fact that ESPN seems to not pay attention to American motorsports, with former motorsports talent such as Marty Smith, Ryan McGee, and Nicole Briscoe primarily being asked to move on to different topics. It will be interesting to see the type of attention ESPN gives the SRX.

The SRX is becoming one of the most interesting series in all of motorsports. It is considered the spiritual successor to IROC, but instead using the formula of local short tracks. The stars are shining bright on the local short tracks of the United States.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts