Do you know any NASCAR fan that doesn’t have a litany of ways NASCAR should fix itself? Let’s be honest, it’s been going downhill for over a decade. You see it in the stands, hear it from the fans, and feel it if you still watch or attend events. The weird and complicated points system, rules changes, anonymous-looking cars, and now politics are all ruining stock car racing. But Tony Stewart is launching a completely new racing series that incorporates a lot of what we miss in racing. Is this finally how NASCAR should fix NASCAR?
To be clear, Stewart’s new series has nothing to do with NASCAR. He’s teamed up with former crew chief, team owner, and Hall of Famer Ray Evernham; former NASCAR COO George Pyne; and agent Sandy Montag.
The racing will be done on short tracks; both dirt and asphalt. All of the 12 cars in a race will be identical. The series is called Superstar Racing Experience or SRX. It already has a deal with CBS to broadcast races on Saturday nights.
No intention of competing with NASCAR
There is no intention to compete with NASCAR. But it wants to incorporate ideas that many wish NASCAR had instituted years ago. Would some of these ideas fix NASCAR? From the Sports Business Journal, here is some of what the principles would like to do:
Fit races into two-hour prime-time shows for television.
Focus on drivers rather than technology. This is where Evernham comes in. He’ll design the cars and each one will be the same.
Both the drivers and crew chiefs will be well-known and will randomly be paired.
Racing will take place at night under the lights.
Sponsorships will be easier to obtain, manage, and integrate.
The speeds will be slower which Evernham hopes might bring out some famous retired drivers who aren’t up for the high speeds being attained in NASCAR. He is expecting 150 mph on half-mile tracks like Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut, Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, New Smyrna Speedway in Florida, Eldora Indiana, Knoxville Iowa, and Terre Haute Action Track. There is also talk of a road course and modified oval in the works.
Racing would be a mix of retired, up-and-coming, and famous drivers
“You know, drivers retiring and being out of the sport so young, we think there are guys who still want to race, still can race, but just don’t want to run 200 mph,” Evernham told SBJ. What he’d like to see is a mix of short track racers, drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya, Jimmie Johnson, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Gordon, and others.” Also, newbies that have the chops but can’t catch a break or buy a ride.
There are a lot of similarities to IROC and that is not unusual seeing as how Stewart was the series’ last winner in 1979. Back then it died partially as a result of the recession. The series is set to begin in the summer of 2021. Just in case you think it might be a flash-in-the-pan CBS has signed up for multiple years.
We can guarantee the Motor Biscuit crew will be watching. Gee, maybe we should be a sponsor, “Liz, get Tony on the phone for me!”