After a very successful truck series race last Sunday in Rockingham, it got lots of Nascar fans, and reporters thinking about a return to Rockingham in the Sprint Cup Series or Nationwide Series. In years to come Rockingham will need Nascar to purchase the track so they can make much-needed upgrades like a new surface, more grandstands and some newer garage stalls.
If Nascar were to return to Rockingham in the Sprint Cup Series in a few years why not take a daring schedule change that could potentially bring in tons of more Nascar fans. This is the idea of brining Nascar back to its southern roots and eliminating some west coast races and making fans happy. I’m not saying eliminate all west coast races but cut down on them. West coast tracks like Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California have lacked attendance for years now and since Fontana is outside of Los Angles, California they continue to keep a “big market” track on the schedule.
Even though “smaller market” tracks like Darlington in South Carolina which is not very close to any big cities have had great attendance and fans that come back year after year. The Auto Club Speedway has been known to give away tickets to superstars in the Los Angeles area to attract fans to the race, their trying to fill the stands. Tracks in Nascar’s southern roots like Charlotte, Darlington, Daytona, Atlanta etc. have not been trying to fill the stands in a way by giving away tickets to superstars they rely on diehard Nascar fans to show up which they do.
A proposed way of attracting more Nascar fans by going back to their southern roots is cutting down on the less popular west coast races and bringing more races back to the east coast especially the south. Going to Phoenix twice a year isn’t like going to Darlington twice a year with all of Darlington’s rich tradition. I’m not saying don’t race at Phoenix at all just go there once a year.
Fontana hasn’t been super successful in attendance, sponsorship and racing action so why put in the money to travel across the country to race their? Tracks like Las Vegas are perfectly fine on the schedule right now, one race and the third race of the season is fine for a track like Las Vegas. After the Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend it showed that Texas isn’t this extremely exciting race it has been advertised as.
Nascar doesn’t need to make two stops a year there. Our first road course race of the year in Sonoma, California always proves to be a great race but now having lack of sponsorship that track might be replaced on the schedule. Road America made its way onto the Nationwide schedule a few years ago and proved to be a great track to race at, now it could soon find itself a Sprint Cup date on the schedule if Sonoma can’t find enough sponsorship.
The return to Nascar’s roots are basically bringing racing more often to Nascar’s heartland in the southern portion of the United States. In the last ten years Nascar Sprint Cup Series racing left Rockingham completely and left Darlington with one sprint cup date. It has also left Atlanta with only one Sprint Cup date. These tracks are part of Nascar’s southern roots.
These tracks fans come to anytime they can and leave very few seats empty. Money has played into the role why some of these tracks were left off the schedule but with a slowly improving economy these tracks could easily bring out sell-out crowds and bring in lots of interested sponsors. These moves aren’t easy at all to happen but with fan interest and an improving economy they are definitely possible. These potential moves to bring back Nascar to its roots are risky but could also pay off in the long run.