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NASCAR Exec Says Short Track Racing Has Room for Improvement, but It’s Not as Bad as Some People Think

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Joshua Lipowski

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Circle B Diecast Push Down

In the most recent edition of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast, Mike Forde, NASCAR’s Managing Director of Racing Communications, was asked about the short track product. Potentially to the surprise of some, he stated that while he feels there is room for improvement, he felt the product was not as bad as some people may claim. NASCAR reporters Pete Pistone and Jeff Gluck also gave their thoughts along with NASCAR on NBC Analyst Steve Letarte.

Analyzing Mike Forde’s Comments

Here is the full quote of what Mike Forde had to say regarding the state of short track racing in NASCAR. He actually cited races from the 2023 season to illustrate his point.

We think that there can be improvement. I think we think that it’s not as bad and the sky’s not as falling as hard and as quickly as some of the commentary has been. The Richmond race was probably the best Richmond race we have seen in years. Martinsville left a little bit to be desired, but we’ve all seen that type of Martinsville race. I don’t think that was nearly as bad as some have suggested.

Mike Forde

This is some pretty incredible insight into how NASCAR views its’ short track product. Regardless of how some fans feel about it, NASCAR seems to feel the short track product is not as bad as some may claim. Objectively speaking, it is true that not every short track race in the Next-Gen era has been completely awful.

As Forde mentioned, Richmond this year was a very entertaining race. The “Hail Melon” last year, that happened at Martinsville, a short track. However, short tracks have produced their fair share of stinkers as well.

North Wilkesboro this year was a big letdown in terms of on-track product. The spring Martinsville race last year was one of, if not the, worst Martinsville race in years. The Bristol Night Race last year received very mixed reception.

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Therefore, Forde’s comments are probably not totally wrong. However, they can potentially irk some fans who are genuinely disappointed by the current short track product. That being said, Forde even mentioned that some big swings are being taken to help the product.

Most notably, Forde mentioned that the day after the New Hampshire race, they will run a test where they will experiment with a new splitter. He called the new splitter a “Big aero swing,” but he also added that it would likely not be added in 2023.

Overall, it is great to hear that NASCAR is actively working on improving the short track product, but, will they take the huge swings that many want them to take? If NASCAR feels the product is “Not THAT bad”, then how far will they realistically go? That question will have to be answered in time, but what did the other members of the roundtable have to say about this?

Analyzing Letarte, Pistone, and Gluck’s Comments

Letarte and Pistone both took a similar opinion to Forde in that the product is not as bad as some people may claim. They both mentioned how any product can improve over time. Letarte even talked about how the betterment of the 1.5 mile on-track product may have some effect on the product as well..

This highlights that this opinion is not an uncommon opinion at least amongst the NASCAR media. Figuring out what determines a “Good race” is relative in a lot of ways based on a person. Some people enjoy certain races that others might not and vice versa.

Jeff Gluck, on the other hand, was far more critical of the short track product. He probably speaks for a lot of fans when he talks about how it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is missing, but something is missing.

I think the short tracks have definitely been lacking. I don’t know how to quantify it, but I’m not getting what I want to see out of them to the point where it feels like a big step backwards and it hurts because that’s what should be NASCAR’s bread and butter

Jeff Gluck

He goes on to talk more about the product on 1.5 mile tracks, but when he talks about having a hard time quantifying it is the most eye opening. North Wilkesboro had obvious tire wear, which many felt was missing from Martinsville, but the race just did not deliver for some. Last year’s Bristol Night Race had 11 caution flags, a surprise winner by less than 0.5 seconds, and the race was still given mixed reviews.

Something is missing from short track races in NASCAR, but if fans cannot quantify it, then how can NASCAR respond? What can they do? The short track product needs work, but it’s hard to see exactly what needs to be done.

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In the Stands

CorvetteRacing48 wants them to get rid of the underbody.

b-u-rnhakp believes that the race product will improve with this new spoiler, but marginally.

jlmorton77 wants there to be more horsepower added.

Sean_Courtney is skeptical

hunter73x believes that there is no perfect solution.

Time will tell if the short track product improves. Something does need to change, but it is uncertain what exactly that is.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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