It’s a debate as old as the sport itself: What track should host the coveted NASCAR Championship Weekend? While Homestead Miami is the longest tenured host of the championship finale weekend, prior to it, Atlanta was the host. Between the two, New Hampshire was. Today, and for the last couple of years, Pheonix Raceway has had the honor.
Our social media gurus here at The Daily Downforce begged this very same question: If Phoenix isn’t the popular option anymore, then where should the championship races be held? Well, I and many fans have a few suggestions on that. Some serious, some quite silly. Let’s talk about it.
But before we get into the serious options, RFK Racing responded with this idea: a mythical figure-8 monstrosity of a speedway called The Bone Crusher. Could you imagine the carnage! All right, RFK, if you want to fit the bill for a track like this, I’m down…we’ll have to line the cars with rubber or something; make them little more than glorified bumper cars…but we could make it work. Science will catch up.
Homestead Miami Speedway
I’m somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to NASCAR. I like things to be simplistic and not convoluted like the All-Star formats of seasons past. You also have to understand that I was born in the mid 1990s and grew up in the early to mid 2000s. I didn’t really start watching NASCAR religiously until the 2002 season (though the first NASCAR race I ever did watch was the 2001 Daytona 500). It just so happens that that was the first year the NASCAR finale was held at the then-new Homestead Miami Speedway. As a traditionalist, I would like to see it moved back there. Homestead is and always will be one of NASCAR’s best intermediate tracks. It’s not cookie-cutter. The racing is always great. And, more often than not, a deserving champion was crowned. So, yeah, I’d like to see the race moved back there for sentimental reasons, of course.
Johnrwest points out in his reply that, in reality, the championship race would have to be held at a place with a warm climate in the second half of November. He then lists off some potential possibilities, my Homestead being one of them.
The Bowtie Boston also would like to see it moved back to Homestead where it belongs.
For a more selfish reason, I would like the finale to be moved back to Homestead for my NASCAR Heat 5 career mode. For whatever reason, I can rarely win at Phoenix and, when I do, it’s usually in the spring. I’ve lost several championships by one position, coming in second. Meanwhile, Homestead is one of my best tracks…and I generally struggle on the mile and a half’s. If the finale was at Homestead, I could have had 5 championships or more rather than my measly 1. Just sayin’.
Texas Motor Speedway
Okay, hear me out. When I suggest Texas Motor Speedway, I don’t mean the track as it currently stands. With the NextGen car, the track is on the cusp of having somewhat of a revival so maybe any plans to reconfigure it are being hushed. But this is my list and I can do what I want. This is where I add a little bit of fantasy to the equation. With the Atlanta Motor Speedway being converted into what is essentially a baby superspeedway, talk came forth about reconfiguring Texas Motor Speedway as well. This struck fear in many drivers and fans alike as they worried about the idea of NASCAR doing the same to it as they did to Atlanta, which ruined the racing in the eyes of many fans. With Texas extending its relationship with INDYCAR, I don’t see that happening. But I don’t completely oppose a reconfiguration. What I have in my mind is turning the track into what Atlanta was back in the ’90s. Take that damn dog leg out, make it a true oval, and run the finale there. It would be a nice blast from the past for many ’90s fans and NASCAR would host their finale in the larger Dallas/Fort Worth area. Win-win!
Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway
I’m going to continue with the fantasy for most of the remainder of this list. Let’s do it at the Nashville Fairgrounds. The awards ceremony is already in the heart of Nashville, I think they ought to race in it too. And what better race for it to be than the championship finale? Put aside the cold weather, crown your champion in the Music City and have the awards banquet the following week. Just do it.
Chicagoland will be too cold come the second or third week of November, admittedly. BUT, like Homestead Miami, Chicagoland has always been a bright spot amongst the sludge of intermediates the ’90s and early 2000s NASCAR boom resulted in. It’s a unique track with a worn surface that I believe the NextGen car could only complement. The track was a victim of the Covid-19 Pandemic and has been left off the schedule ever since. Since then, NASCAR fans have been demanding it come back and why not have it be the finale? Put the weather aside and let your imaginations run wild with the possibilities just for a moment. Isn’t it great?
Martinsville Speedway is already deep in the playoffs, so, again, put the cold weather argument out of your mind. You ain’t gonna win this one. Martinsville is one of NASCAR’s oldest tracks, one of their OG tracks full of history and tradition. If you’ve never been to a race at Martinsville, what are you doing with your life? Book a ticket now and, while you’re there, grab yourself one of those delicious Martinsville Dogs. You’ll be glad you did. But short track racing is at NASCAR’s roots and it only makes sense that they crown their champion at one of their handful of short tracks. Martinsville. being the most challenging and rare “true” short tracks on the schedule, should host NASCAR’s championship weekend. They could crown their champion there, travel down to Nashville for the awards banquet, and then head home to Charlotte to celebrate properly.
Rx Vitamin R suggests moving it back to Atlanta like the good ole days but removing the restrictions on the engine. Could work. We’ve seen some promising racing there this year and maybe unrestricting the package with the NextGen cars could deliver a barn burner event. Good idea.
MzVicky thinks we should start at Daytona and end at Daytona. Hmm…no. Maybe if the championship format was like it was during the Winston Cup days but even then, I fear that it would have too much of a say on who is crowned champion. Look at the 1993 season. A superspeedway race would have screwed that championship battle up, most likely.
Dawson Haywood suggests doing Bristol Dirt as the finale. Hmm…no. I don’t like the idea of having too many dirt races on the schedule. I’m not even a huge fan of Bristol Dirt being a thing. I think both races at my home track should be run on the concrete surface and, if we do dirt races in NASCAR, they should be at Eldora or another purpose-built dirt track. Besides, there’s too much prejudice from NASCAR legends like Richard Petty on dirt track racing. It wouldn’t work.
Vegas…hmm, that’s a pretty good idea. I’m sure the Busch’s would love having a home game like that.
Gavon Veach suggests doing a Charlotte night finale. Maybe, maybe. I’m sure the rest of the teams would love having a home game as the finale as well and with how fantastic the Coke 600 was this year…yeah, it could be damn good!
Driver_jonny suggests a traveling championship race weekend. I like that idea as well and I think it’s the most realistic thing NASCAR would attempt to do.
Conner feels me on the Nashville suggestion. But I don’t want it at that intermediate track in Gladeville, gimme the Fairgrounds. Homestead and Charlotte are also popular picks.
What do you think, race fans? Where should your champion be crowned? Let us know!