Following the Bristol Dirt Race, questions about why the stands had so many empty seats, and questions were aplenty about why NASCAR was holding an Easter race.
NASCAR YouTuber DannyB gave his take on the manner. He wrote: After a weekend of mixed reviews from fans, and drivers, lower attendance, and lower ratings, a lot of things are up for debate for the future of Bristol Motor Speedway’s spring race. Should we stop running the dirt race? Should we stop racing in spring together at Bristol? Today, I give my thoughts after this weekend on what I’d like to see happen.
When my wife and I first moved to Daytona Beach, we weren’t avid NASCAR fans, despite both of us being raised in the south (and me in Charlotte, N.C. and Greenville, S.C.). But we quickly got addicted to the weekly races, and a handful of venues were treated like the Super Bowl in our home when they came along on the racing schedule.
Bristol was certainly one of those special venues, and it could have played host to five Cup raises a year and we would have stopped everything for all five of them. My brother-in-law got tickets to the night race each late summer, and it sounded like getting your hands on those tickets was akin to getting season tickets to see the Green Bay Packers (if you catch my drift — I.E., impossible).
That was my early impression of Bristol.
Bristol is just one of those places, as DannyB points out, but Bristol has really seen a decline in recent years. In 2005, nothing could have stopped Bristol from being the epicenter of what was going on in the state of Tennessee (and Virginia, Kentucky, and the Blue Ridge parts of North Carolina, etc.).
Now? Not so much. And things change, Mox, and sometimes you have to look at alternatives.
It has snowed at the Bristol spring race (cue 2006 YouTube clip below). People still showed hung around. It has rained, but people weathered the storm, literally. It has been chilly like you might expect in the early spring up in the mountains … who cares?
But that’s not the way it is now. Whether it’s concrete or dirt — they just can’t fill the place, especially in the spring.
DannyB proposed to his wife here, he’s from the area originally, and he loves the place — but even he is asking: In the NASCAR of today, maybe two races on the annual calendar are oversaturating things. Maybe it should be the late-season date only.
The truth is, fans vote with their dollars and the effort they make to get there. And right now, they aren’t voting for the spring race at Bristol, and it’s not just the dirt — the hard-surface racing of just a few years ago was leaving gaping holes in the stands. We’re not talking about a Saturday matinee truck race here, we’re talking about the Bristol Cup race.
This is where the question “Are there too many races in the season” comes into play. And also, “What about the old southern tracks?” Already, NASCAR has figured out that having the All-Star race in Wilkesboro, N.C. is sparking rebirth — and not forcing umpteen races in non-traditional venues is not. Obviously, Bristol is a traditional southern venue, but maybe it isn’t cut out for two races.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
My take? Don’t give this race slot to another road-course race or anything like, or Fontana, etc. Hell, several other venues should only get one a year in my opinion (Kansas, Phoenix, etc.). First of all, leave Easter Day alone, and second? Take some of the other two-date tracks down to one with it. DannyB has some valid points, even though it pains him.
It’s hard to imagine wanting just one date in Bristol, but the votes seem to be in.
In the Stands
B.J. Morgan agrees with much of the above and even had some unique ideas.
YouTube poster ThatsBadTV said he doesn’t see the dirt track idea going back to just concrete as a fix, and frankly? He’s a dirt-race diehard (there are a lot of them in the NASCAR fan base).
Will England had several interesting takes on the subject, and even offered a few ideas on how to fix it.