Pedley: TMS, Stewart Ideas Have Roots
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
The guess here isthat the reaction to Tuesday’s announcement that Texas Motor Speedway will host two IZOD IndyCar Series races on the same day next season is being shredded by the auto racing traditionalists.
Just like Tony Stewart’s suggestion that NASCAR insert a dirt-track race into the Chase lineup evokes more rolling of eyes than thoughtful analysis when he gives the idea semi-regular airings.
Neither idea, however, should offend the traditionalists.
In fact, they should be embraced by those folks because both are terrific ideas whose roots run deep into the soil of American racing tradition. In fact, the ideas should have went further.
Seventeen twin major open-wheel races were held in North America in the 1960s through the 1981. They were sanctioned by both USAC and CART. The races were held on ovals and road courses.
The twofer at Texas will be held on the track’s oval. Both will be 275 kilometers in length and each will pay championship points – half the normal amount of points per race. They will be run virtually back to back.
“The concept has Indy-car history to it, but at the same time provides a new dynamic event to our fans as well as the drivers themselves,” TMS president Eddie Gossage said Tuesday night in announcing the event.
Then there is the Stewart suggestion. He tossed it out – again – last week when he was asked about changes to the Sprint Cup schedule and to the Chase playoff system.
“I would love to see a dirt race at Eldora (Speedway, a track he owns in Ohio) in the Chase which, I’ve mentioned for 10 years,” Stewart said. “So, hopefully I won’t have to go 11 years before we get one but I’m not going to hold my breath that it’s going to happen.”
NASCAR, of course, got its start on the clay-based back roads, the red dirt and yellow beach sand of the Southeast.
What could be more traditional than holding a NASCAR race or two on a dirt track?
And yes, one in the Chase. Let’s find out which team and driver are the all-around best in the sport.
In fact, go further. Combine the Gossage and Stewart ideas and add some steroids. Think Saturday night short track. Think sprint cars.
How about heat races and B- and C-Mains to determine starting positions for the A-Main? How about trophy dashes?
One of the great events in all of racing is the Knoxville Nationals. It is non-stop action. It’s race after race of clawing and hacking and scrambling for the right to be called champion.
When it all finally does stop at the end of the A-Main, the fans and the last team standing know that victory was earned.
Of course because this has been an academic exercise, financial considerations and logistical stumbling blocks have been left out of the discussion. And those considerations and stumbling blocks are likely quite daunting in this era of economic chaos.
But please, do not dismiss the idea on the grounds of being non-traditional.
– Jim Pedley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgOne Comment