I, for one, love short track racing. It is the heart and soul of many auto racing organizations, NASCAR included. In fact, many NASCAR fans (including myself) believe that more short tracks should be included in the schedule, rather than the 1.5-2 mile cookie-cutter tracks that are plaguing this sport coast-to-coast. I love Bristol, I love Richmond, I love Martinsville, I even love Iowa Speedway.
I also love it when the Nationwide Series races at other tracks that the Sprint Cup drivers do not. Nashville (which they just raced this past Sunday), Road America, and Montreal are examples.
And that is why I love Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly known as O’Reilly Raceway Park, or ORP for short), for both of these reasons. Which is why it’s sad that Saturday’s Nationwide race at the track will be the last time they race there in the series. Instead, NASCAR has decided to make a “Super Weekend” at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
But at the same time, you’re not only taking away an event that’s been a part of the series since 1982 (in fact, up until the Cup drivers raced in 1994, it was the only place for drivers in any of NASCAR’s national series to drive in Indiana), but you’re also taking away a great place for drivers to race and for fans to enjoy.
The Brickyard 400 was fine as it was as a stand-alone event. And it’s not like you’re going to fill up all 250,000 seats there (Are you even going in to fill the front grandstands?) anyway. Racing at Lucas Oil Raceway gives it that fun, old-school feel, which is exactly what many NASCAR fans want? Why else do so many of them say that the sport should race at Darlington twice again or have the Cup and/or Nationwide drivers return to Rockingham? Both of those tracks have that old-school charm to it that fans love. For the most part, short tracks do the exact same thing, which is why Bristol sells out almost every year (heck, some fans wait 3-5 years just to get a ticket there).
By taking away this race, NASCAR is once again alienating even more of those diehard fans, which is not what the sport needs to do right now.