The Frontstretch: Scanner Static : Charlotte Is Broken, But Can It Even Be Fixed? by Jess Nicholas -- Wednesday October 18, 2006

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Scanner Static : Charlotte Is Broken, But Can It Even Be Fixed?

NASCAR Fan Q & A · Jess Nicholas · Wednesday October 18, 2006


Q: I've never been so embarrassed to be a NASCAR fan in my life. I live in Charlotte, and I've been coming to races here forever, and this place is a mess. I was afraid we were going to be down to four or five cars by the end of the night. The surface of this track is too smooth, too fast and it's no longer conducive to good racing. I know a lot of fans love the wrecks but I like seeing a good race, and what I saw Saturday night was two fast cars out front and everyone else praying they didn't end up as dog meat. I hope the next Charlotte race is better. Panther Man

A: This wasn't Charlotte's shining moment, that's for sure. I wouldn't go so far as to call it an embarrassment, but it could have been better and yes, they've done a lot of harm to this track with the "levigation" and now the repave. Unfortunately, I don't see how things could be improved significantly by the time they race here again. I almost hate to advocate restrictor plates, but it's not as crazy an idea as it first sounded.

Q: This track used to have bumps, and the racing was better. Can't they put the bumps back in somehow? Stodgy Old Guy

A: I doubt they would want to do that at Charlotte, but it has got me thinking about what people do when they build new tracks. Why not go uphill/downhill a little? A slight kink to the right in the middle of the backstretch? Purposefully rough up the pavement? It's clear that tracks with character give us better racing. I hope, if anything, that the mistakes Charlotte made with this track serve as an architectural lesson to other builders.

Q: Is there any doubt this is Jeff Burton's year? That guy has a rabbit's foot stuck up his (expletive). Grossman

A: I wouldn't write Harvick or Kenseth out of it yet, nor Mark Martin, although the latter looks a lot less likely than last week. But yes, it does appear to be shaping up to be Burton's year.

*Q: Last time I checked, J.J. has wrecked about 40 cars now at Talladega. Guess he finally got what was coming to him. What Vickers did wasn't intentional, and I suppose the same could be said for Johnson's past transgressions, but Vickers handled his situation a hell of a lot better than Jimmie ever did. Remember after he wrecked half the field hitting the 38 and whined/lied about being hit first? All I can say about it Jimmie's lucky that sponsorship has buttoned down NASCAR or he would've gotten a couple of (expletive) whoopings by now. What a no-class punk. Hey, I guess he learned from the best though, his car owner, ha ha. Another case of a guy who would've/should've gotten some (expletive) whoopings by now. Congratulations to Brian Vickers, who has represented the Hendrick organization with class and deserved a better deal than to be shunned from team meetings and getting the short end of the stick on organization resources and equipment. 333

A: As several comments and letters proved this week, Jimmie Johnson didn't get a lot of sympathy following Talladega. I still can't absolve Vickers of fault in that wreck, but at the same time, it should be noted that Johnson hasn't been the most popular driver at that track in recent years. I guess the worst part of it all is that Earnhardt got caught up in this one - and was really the only one of the three I felt handled things properly afterwards.

Q: Was the Mark Martin post-wreck interview not the strangest thing you've ever seen? Do we need to test him for happy drugs? Melene

A: As soon as Mark hit the wall, I was hoping he would just be conscious. Then, I was afraid he was about to do the Carl Edwards back flip off the windowsill of his car - crazy old man. And then, when he was being interviewed, I started to wonder if the doctors shouldn't invite him back inside the care center for a concussion check. Surreal.

Think Charlotte’s repavement has actually provided for better racing? Think Mark Martin’s “happy” mood won’t continue for long? Email Jess at and let him know what you think…or email him another NASCAR-related question or comment, and you could be in this very space next week!

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©2000 - 2008 Jess Nicholas and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

10/19/2006 03:51 PM

I almost hate to advocate restrictor plates, but it’s not as crazy an idea as it first sounded. —- YES IT IS!!! You’ve lost your mind!

10/20/2006 07:16 AM

Restrictor Plates? PLEEEEEASE... Those things never did anything but turn a bad situation worse. Look at DIS and Tal. Safer? NO… HELL NO. 43 cars riding around 3-wide, less than a half-second between 1st and last, massive wrecks, cars and debris STILL in the stands… Safer? NO WAY.
The problem with Charlotte isn’t the track or the surface. The problem is these “pretty-boy” so-called drivers can not actually drive a car. If the car is loose, they HAVE to pull in and give it over to some BS engineer to “fix” it. There is nothing that says they must run a car flat-footed at every track. Sometimes you have to feather the gas or brake to get thru a turn… it’s called “driving”. Place some of the blame on Goodyear, too. I know I expect alot from them to make a tire that can stay together for a few laps. After all… they’ve only been making tires for over 100 years. You’d think somebody there could at least get close. Why not bring in Goodrich, Firestone, or even Hoosier? I bet Goodyear would tighten thier collective a$$es up then.


Jess no longer contributes to the Frontstretch, but you can still read all his articles on his archive and bio page.