Stewart Wants NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Races On The Dirt At Eldora
Eldora Speedway Owner and NASCAR driver Tony Stewart prior to last night's Camping World Truck Series race at the track already was "lobbying for the next NASCAR race" at the facility, and he "doesn't want to stop" with the Truck Series, according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Darrell Wallace Jr. won the race, the second time trucks have run on the dirt track, and Stewart said, "If this continues to go as well as we hope, there's no reason the other two divisions couldn't possibly come in the future." Ryan notes the concept has been "gathering steam since a wildly successful debut last year." Stewart cited the "ability to adjust a dirt track to engender better racing as a reason why other NASCAR series could work at Eldora." He said, "If you can take the trucks and make them work here, the Cup and Nationwide cars aren't a big stretch from that. It's definitely feasible. It's just a matter of is that something they want to do?" Stewart hailed the truck race at Eldora as a "boost for NASCAR, which has sought ways to rebuild its fan base after some moves were viewed as affronts to tradition that alienated longtime followers." Stewart: "This is very important to the sport. It probably is the best way to tie major NASCAR racing to grass-roots racing" (USA TODAY, 7/24). But in Florida, Michael Parsons wrote under the header, "NASCAR On Dirt Is An Awful Idea." A Sprint Cup or Nationwide race at Eldora "may be feasible, but how good would it truly be?" Parsons: "We are talking about cars that are built for speed. Not dirt. I can't see it, and better yet, am really not interested in seeing it. ... Heck, if they can do that, maybe we should go back to beach racing at Daytona?" (FLORIDATODAY.com, 7/23).
THINGS STAYING THE SAME: In Charlotte, Jim Utter notes NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France “confirmed on Monday what has become apparent in recent weeks -- next season’s Sprint Cup Series schedule will not look all that different from this year’s.” The bulk of the schedule -- outside an "occasional date swap between tracks -- has remained the same for nearly a decade.” The addition of Kentucky Speedway in ‘11 “was the most recent significant change to the schedule.” With two organizations -- ISC and SMI -- together owning roughly 90% of the 36 Sprint Cup points races, there “is little room to maneuver when trying to make changes.” Fox and NBC beginning next season “will basically split the Cup and Nationwide series seasons.” Each network, “obviously, wants to maintain the significant race events they already enjoy under the current schedule” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER 7/24).
TRIMMING THE BOTTOM LINE? Driver Greg Biffle said he believes the newly formed Race Team Alliance will "help our sport, long-term." He said, "You've got NASCAR making rules and rule changes and trying to make the sport more competitive, more entertaining, (with) more passing and more exciting racing on the race track." Biffle viewed "cost savings to race teams as perhaps the most important area for RTA." Biffle: "That's, ultimately, what we need to do is reduce costs for these teams, so we can make sure everyone can participate in it, and not get too much of the big two or three or four teams that nobody else will be able to compete against" (FREEP.com, 7/23).