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The WORST Track Reconfigurations in NASCAR History

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In NASCAR, plenty of race tracks have undergone major reconfigurations over the years, but, not every track reconfiguration has been a success. Plenty of race tracks have had bad reconfigurations over the years, but what are the worst?

5. Bristol Motor Speedway 2007

In 2007, Bruton Smith and Speedway Motorsports decided to reconfigure Bristol Motor Speedway by putting in variable banking. While the new configuration created multiple grooves across the short track, it was not totally popular amongst the fans. Bristol used to be known for being one groove with the iconic “Bump and Run” being the best way to pass many drivers.

It just was not the Bristol that fans came to see. Eventually, the variable banking on the top of the track was shaved down to make it an equally banked track once again. Since then the track has regained its popularity amongst the fanbase, even if it is not the “Old School” Bristol.

4. Homestead-Miami Speedway 1997

The original Homestead-Miami Speedway was a 1.5-mile flat track shaped like Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That did not work, so they rounded off the corners to make a true oval in 1997, but they kept the banking at 6 degrees. The result was a flat, slow intermediate track where it was hard to pass.

This version of Homestead did not last very long. In 2003, they reconfigured the track again to its modern configuration with 18-20 degrees of progressive banking. Now, the track is one of the most popular amongst fans, but, it was a long road to get here.

3. Charlotte Motor Speedway 2005

In 2005, Charlotte Motor Speedway had an aging track surface, so, they decided to diamond grind the track to extend the life of the surface. Well, the result was a combined 37 caution flags over the two Charlotte races that year. This included a record 22 caution flags in the Coca-Cola 600 that year.

While the 2005 Coca-Cola 600 had an incredible finish, it was obvious that the racing surface needed to be repaved. The fall race in particular saw plenty of tire issues. the track was repaved before the 2006 season.

2. Kentucky Speedway 2016

No other reconfiguration on this list could be blamed for a track closing down, but, Kentucky Speedway’s 2016 reconfiguration can. This was SMI’s first attempt at having different banking angles at different ends of the track. The banking in turns one and two was increased to 18 degrees with the banking in turns three and four staying at 14 degrees.

The result was a single-groove track. It was especially demoralizing after the best race in the track’s history to that point in 2015. The track was removed from the schedule in 2020.

1. Texas Motor Speedway 2017

In 2017, SMI tried to adjust the banking at Texas Motor Speedway. The turns one and two banking was decreased to 20 degrees with turns three and four staying at 24 degrees. The result was exactly the same as that at Kentucky, a single-groove race track.

Not only that, but they tried to put PJ1 Traction Compound on the track, which ruined the IndyCar races there. The track was broken by the reconfiguration, and, it still has not gotten on the right side of the fanbase. Even with the Next-Gen car, Texas has had some struggling races.

What are some of the other bad reconfigurations of race tracks? Will there be any other bad reconfigurations in the future?

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Joshua Lipowski

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