I think itâ€™s great that NASCAR is allowing an additional Cup race at Kansas. Kansas has proven to be a very popular venue. While IndyCars have struggled to get a foothold there, Sprint Cup appears to be getting better and better. It should be fun to see how they do with the second date. I canâ€™t say losing a date at Auto Club (California) Speedway was anything less thsn the right thing. One date appears to be too much for them, and two dates definitely are.
Of course, the other news is that Kentucky Speedway is destined for a Sprint Cup date next year, as well. While I hate to see Atlanta lose a Cup date, I know this has been a long time coming for Kentucky fans. Fans have held their collective breath, and doing so appears to have paid off for them. It looks as if waiting through an antitrust lawsuit to be resolved and for new new ownership has paid off. Congrats to Kansas and Kentucky both!!
Some in the know think adding Kentucky will hurt the Brickyard. Experts and amateurs of different stripes have differing views. Certainly, declining attendance gives the powers that be pause to ponder the future of the event.
I have some ideas for improving the event, if not the entire series.
First, eliminate guarantee of starting the top 35 in points. As it is, qualifying is a joke, I think. I think people donâ€™t go to races because they are too predictable. I know people go to see their favorite driver, but what if their driver is having a hard time qualifying? Maybe more fans would come to the track if there were any chance their driver may not make the race, igniting a bit of anticipation or excitement that is often lacking. I fail to understand the point of â€œqualifyingâ€ for a race Iâ€™m guaranteed to start anyway.
Also, Iâ€™d go to 36 starters from 43. While this may not eliminate start and park deals, it just might help. I think 43 starters is too many. I donâ€™t think most tracks can handle that many cars, for one thing. Also, fewer cars on the track might just allow for more race winners (think fewer crashes, more room to pass, etc.).
What of the start and parks? I say bring back provisional (three sounds like a good number per race). Letâ€™s award provisional to the top three in qualifying races for the last three spots in the race. The top three would advance into the main event. I think these races could help boost attendance every week. Think of the potential, too, for teams like Prism Motorsports and Tommy Baldwin Racing, for example. Maybe heavy television exposure from â€œwinningâ€ one of these races just might translate to getting these teams out of the start and park mode.
Congrats to Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti on their wins at Wakins Glen and Mid-Ohio, respectively. Montoya takes the checkers for the first time since 2007, and Franchitti gets his first win since last Mayâ€™s Indianapolis 500.
A couple of observations: Jeff Gordon, for all his successes in Cup, just might become the first driver in decades to win the Sprint Cup without winning a single race. It will be interesting to see if he can climb back up to first or second in the Chase if he still has no wins on the season when the Chase starts, figuring his seeding will be down because of that potential. Also, Will Power may win the IndyCar title without a single oval track win. Kind of ironic for a series that was all ovals as recently as 2004!!
Finally, thanks to Alan, Lee and Dave for allowing me to post here. You gentlemen make race time a lot of fun. Iâ€™m glad to be a part of it!!