The Frontstretch: As The Cookie Cutter Crumbles: NASCAR's Intermediate Track Boom Turned Bust by Thomas Bowles -- Monday July 13, 2009

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As The Cookie Cutter Crumbles: NASCAR's Intermediate Track Boom Turned Bust

Bowles-Eye View · Thomas Bowles · Monday July 13, 2009


So many are disgusted with the racing that went on Saturday night at Chicagoland. But to understand the present, we need to take a look at the past, reminding ourselves of the story how tracks like the much-maligned 1.5-mile oval ever came to be in the first place.

It was the mid-1990s, and NASCAR couldn’t be healthier. With then-Wonder Boy Jeff Gordon winning his first championship at age 24, the sport was enjoying his budding rivalry with seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Other veterans like Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, and Ricky Rudd were still in the prime of their careers, doing battle with up and comers like the Burton Brothers, Bobby Labonte, and a suddenly successful Dale Jarrett.

But the drivers weren’t the only backbone of this rapidly blossoming sport. A healthy mix of short track racing left fans asking for more without getting too much, guaranteeing some beating and banging in between places like Darlington, Daytona, and the newly-minted Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis that offered fans a plethora of different styles. In particular, an Autumn swing through two of the circuit’s smallest tracks — North Wilkesboro, and Martinsville – was crucial in setting the stage for the sport’s championship battle. It was at Wilkesboro in ’89 where Rudd and Earnhardt made contact on the final lap, spinning out for the lead while Rusty Wallace sped by with the points he’d need to win the title. Seven years later, Gordon swept through the short-track duet as part of a late-season charge that left him within a whisker of capturing Terry Labonte for the Cup.

But as you might expect, just as the sport was enjoying top-level competition the big brass down in Daytona saw a nice little side effect to the Cup racing’s growth: money in the pocketbook. And as fans filled the seats, NASCAR-controlled ISC, Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports, Inc., and even Roger Penske (California’s first track owner) began to see the issues with these half-mile ovals: their profit margin. You see, short tracks could only fit so many fans in the stands, a far cry from the nearly 300,000 that packed Indianapolis’ 2.5-mile oval during the Indy 500. And tracks less than half a mile in length couldn’t balance stock car racing with the number one form of motorsports at the time: Indy Car. Even in the first year of the CART/IRL split, the open-wheel drivers still were the bigger draw, and tracks like North Wilkesboro were too small to stage a race for cars that drove faster and needed more room to battle on the race track.

With those thoughts in mind, suddenly everyone in a corporate suit had the perfect answer to capitalize on racing’s growing fan base: the “Cookie Cutter.” Beginning with the introduction of Texas’ 1.5-mile oval in 1997, new “intermediate tracks” began to sprout up all across the country. California, Chicago, Homestead, Kansas City, Las Vegas: they were all part of a five-year, national expansion plan that brought NASCAR’s schedule to 36 events by the end of 2001. Promoting “bigger and better” racing, these tracks were “all-in-one” gold mines where track promoters could eventually sell upwards of 100,000 seats for multiple races per year – while getting some open-wheel money on the side. The building blocks to a brighter future had been built.

Or so they thought.

Nine years into the sport’s grand plan, the intermediate track “boom” has busted rather quickly. NASCAR’s race at Chicagoland failed to sell out on Saturday night, with an announced attendance of 70,000 leaving them at least 5,000 short of capacity (depending on whether you believe that figure – or your eyesight). The racing itself had just 10 lead changes, tied for the fewest this season of any track that’s gone the full distance (Daytona’s rain-shortened 500 has just nine).

Yet for a track jointly owned by both the ISC and IndyCar’s IMS group, believe it or not stock car fans weren’t supposed to be their primary concern. There’s still an IndyCar race to be run in September, a race that had double the lead changes and far more side-by-side racing on a track that’s tailor-made for their success. In fact, of the expansion tracks listed above only California and Las Vegas are currently without major open-wheel events, although all have been able to host either the former Champ Car series or IndyCar at some point. However, their ugly split has left these series mere remnants of their former selves, with a fan base so small and the fields so weak their influence pales in comparison to the only game left in town.

Texas Motor Speedway kicked off the “Cookie Cutter” trend, but even they aren’t impervious to the struggles of filling the seats on race day.

That leaves these promoters stuck with tracks struggling with stock cars, leaving small consolation to a rapidly failing experiment of whether both series can co-exist in the same place. And just like IndyCar struggles to get around NASCAR’s best tracks – the ¾ mile at Richmond caused drivers to issue public apologies last month – places where the IRL succeeds mean nothing to NASCAR fans. As a result, they’ve seen their favorite drivers as part of a 43-car, single file parade at these 1.5-mile ovals, with the promise that “wear and tear” on the surface will eventually lead to multiple grooves and better racing. Yet even with greater parity and a higher level of overall competition, that’s never happened. Old car, new car, red car, blue car, the fields at these speedways spread out so quickly it makes it impossible for drivers to race side-by-side for long. Instead, a dreaded aero push leads to a push to stay single-file sooner rather than later, high speeds leaving drivers too close to a handling nightmare to worry about mixing it up for the fans up front.

And while these tracks have never been suited for your fancy, their presence has slowly eliminated traditional venues where fabulous finishes were the norm, not the exception. North Wilkesboro was the first to go, the .625-mile oval hosting its last race at the end of that 1996 season. Rockingham was next on the list, its last race producing a finish closer than any of its replacements has ever provided: an .010 second victory for Matt Kenseth in a thrilling battle to the finish line over Kasey Kahne. It’s amazing some fans never got a chance to see races here, the hotbed of where white-knuckle racing was born.

But what’s sadder is they’ll never get a chance to see them again.

NASCAR Schedule Breakdown: 1996
Short Track Races (1 mile ovals or less): 14
Road Course Races: 2
Restrictor Plate Races: 4
Intermediate Races (1.5-2 mile ovals): 6
Other Configurations: 5
Total Races: 31
NASCAR Schedule Breakdown: 2009
Short Track Races (1 mile ovals or less): 12
Road Course Races: 2
Restrictor Plate Races: 4
Intermediate Races (1.5-2 mile ovals): 14
Other Configurations: 4
Total Races: 36

Now, it’d be one thing if these speedways that replaced them were few and far between; but instead, the glutton of overexpansion has left these tracks the meat and potatoes of the current Sprint Cup schedule. The number of intermediate tracks has more than doubled, now totaling 14 events while making up five of the ten venues deciding NASCAR’s champion. It’s like adding the generic brands at the cost of tossing the most popular ones right out of the store: it may save you money, but in the end, you’re probably going to want the brand you like the most at some point.

And that’s where the sport is seeing its fan rebellion now. People are tired of wading through too many of these snoozefests every year, excuses in the form of petty debris cautions to bunch up the field no longer able to hold their attention. Even in the rare case of a photo finish, like Kyle Busch’s win over Jimmie Johnson at Chicagoland in 2008, it’s merely two laps and five minutes of racing excitement as opposed to three hours. Fans have woken up to that reality – and the TV ratings back up their intelligence.

Of course, the old short tracks still remain, empty and crumbling at their lack of use. In a perfect world, it would take just a few million in investments and the right owners to build them up for the Big Boys again. It’s just the corporate suits are too proud to admit their mistake, while deep down desperately searching for the money to build new one to replace them. It’s just that it’s far too late; the investment money is gone, the economy has tanked, and ISC and SMI’s reserves are depleted on tracks that never delivered to fan’s expectations.

Considering those who run our sport are people with business degrees and entrepreneurial spirit, they should have known better to hedge their bets on a multi-purpose race track instead of ones keeping their own foundation strong. And now, just like the housing bubble, their cookie cutter ideas have come to leave the sport’s landscape losing value by the second.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
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Going By the Numbers: Top-10 NASCAR Variety Hard To Come By In…
Truckin’ Thursdays: Lessons Learned Just Two Races In
Fantasy Insider: Team Revelations For NASCAR’s Short Tracks



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Doug Scholl
07/13/2009 01:15 AM

8 laps for the field to string out Saturday night. The leader telling his crew he would save gas and tell me if I need to put the hammer down. All of the “cookie cutters” should think of cutting thier races in half where there is not enough time to put it in cruise control.

07/13/2009 05:24 AM

You don’t think the economy has anything to do with it do you? After all Nascar is built on the back of the working class and we’re getting kicked in the teeth right now

07/13/2009 07:31 AM

Interesting try for a column . Not a good try , but an interesting one . The book you looked in for all of the info apparently didn’t include the fact that Charlotte ( 1960 ) was the beginning of the 1.5 mile tracks that we currently have . And the owner of that track has often explained why he feels that all of his 1.5 mile ovals are the correct size and shape . Do you really suppose that Bruton Smith couldn’t afford to build a bigger track if he felt it was needed ? He certainly wouldn’t build a smaller one , you did manage to get the correct reasoning against small tracks . And as your knowledge of , and interest in Nascar only goes back to 1990 , you would of course have to get your usual Jeff Gordon mention into the story . The empty seats at Chicago mirror the empty seats at every venue on the Nascar circuit . And those seats aren’t empty because of the size or shape of the track .
The longtime fans are being driven away by the lack of competition , the silly contrived rules , and the tradeoff of manufacturer involvement ( the exciting Chevy vs Ford battles over decades ) to the current personality vs personality . The new fans like yourself are the true casual fans ( or in your case , start and park writers ) who view Nascar as an entertainment business . Nascar views itself in the same way . Theres no more passion for racing . No more love of competition . Thus you get more and more empty seats and lower and lower tv ratings .

07/13/2009 07:42 AM

“5,000 short of capacity”???

Guess I will have to trust my eyesight rather than their “numbers”!

Oh, could you do me a favor please?

Tell me who says they were “only” 5,000 short of capacity?

I want those people to balance my checkbook!

5,000 MY A**!!!!!!!


And being in close proximity to Chicago and a huge population, and drawing probably less than 50,000, has almost NOTHING to do with the economy!

It has to do with sick racing and a poor product on the track!

I live a mere 3 hours from the track, was not even on my radar to consider going!


07/13/2009 07:46 AM

I’ll excuse Charlotte and Atlanta as they have been on the schedule for a long time and have a history of good racing (especially Atlanta). Vegas, Chicago, and Kansas should never have been built in the 1½ configurations.

In all fairness, Saturday’s snoozefest would have been a snoozefest practically anywhere else, too. Mark Martin just put an old-fashioned whipping on the field.

I will also say that if it wasn’t for these boring tracks, Jimmie Johnson would not be a 3-time champion.

07/13/2009 07:48 AM

Another justification for building these virtually identical tracks was it gave Nascar the opportunity to build more corporate suites to house those multiple ‘official sponsors’. With the economy being so tight, I would love to know how many of those luxury boxes are sitting just as empty as the stands. Maybe, when you put your economic eggs in that basket to the detriment of the fans that brought you to the dance, the lesson is a bit hard to swallow. And Ryan, the ‘improvements’ to Nascar aren’t just the cookie cutters. I’ve had season tickets to Bristol for the past 9 years. After sitting through virtual parades with traffic there since the onset of the ‘chase’ and ‘improvements’ to the track itself, I didn’t renew my tickets this year. While it would have been a squeeze to do so with the economy the way it is, I would have found a way if Bristol hadn’t been neutered with ‘improvements.

Joe C.
07/13/2009 08:34 AM

What, these guys never visited New York or Chicago? Never saw a skyscraper? Well the folks at Bristol did, and managed to squeeze all those fans around (i.e., above) a shortrack.

07/13/2009 09:12 AM

Wonder how those Track Packs worked out for Chicagoland this year? If you were going to be a “walk up” sale on race day, you were still FORCED to buy a Track Pack which included the Irl/Truck weekend in Aug. Easily 15,000 to 20,000 empty seats on sat. Great sales dept, eh? What was really funny were the dreamer’s selling tickets on ebay and craigslist last week, bet that worked out for them. HA!

07/13/2009 09:41 AM

there’s 100 corporate suites at atlanta. 40 had sponsors and people in them this past spring race. over 50% were empty on race day. when tornado touched down at ams a few years ago, they powers to be rebuilt for the rich and famous, thinking that the sport was bullet proof, and would continue to grow. ha….guess they need to clean their crystal ball. here in atlanta, radio stations are already promoting the september night race, and giving away tickets. atlanta sold itself to the devil of the highbrow folks, suites aren’t selling, special motorhome parking where you can watch race aren’t selling, and the stands are empty. i’ve gotten so many direct mail pieces asking me to renew my tickets. they forgot the fan. now i have to park far away and take a tram. before, it was first come first serve on race day. if you got there early, you got a good spot. they rerouted traffic. if you go back roads, they make you go out into the nightmare traffic on 19/41. people know back roads to avoid that mess. it’s all about control and they’ve lost it.

Tom Bowles
07/13/2009 09:43 AM

Hey Ryan,

I’ve been politely letting you criticize every single one of my columns (and I mean every single one, for weeks — for someone who hates my work you sure seem to love to read!), as you’re entitled to your opinion. But you stumbled on this one. Certainly, Bruton wouldn’t “build” smaller tracks than 1.5-mile ovals, would he? Of course he doesn’t believe in them these days … purchasing both Kentucky Speedway and New Hampshire over the past few years was just something he did when ISC held him up at gunpoint. And for saying both Las Vegas and Charlotte are the “perfect size,” he’s certainly spent quite a bit in repaving / rebuilding BOTH in the last decade — even though Vegas was just built in the late 1990s.

As for me being a “new fan” … let me see … I’ve been a fan now for 20 years and writing for nine. I’m hoping that doesn’t make me new, but I do know my favorite driver didn’t start and park in the over 1,000 races I’ve watched through the years before I decided to do this for a living at the race track. Don’t worry, though, I’m gonna get busy “mailing it in” for my next column, because why bother considering it’s a sport I fell in love with since I was 8? Clearly, running an independent journalism site with a group of writers who share that passion shows how little I care or understand.

By the way, thanks everyone for writing and reading! And conservative, the economy can only explain so much for major markets like L.A. and Chicago, places that can’t even sell out with half the capacity of tracks like Bristol.

07/13/2009 09:54 AM

If NA$CAR had stuck to their original business plan, of promoting races. Then they could to choose tracks that could provide the kind of racing that built it. That plan went out the window when they became track owners. Talk about a conflict of interest. Turns out it’s the fans interest that’s been most conflicted.

amy anderson
07/13/2009 10:02 AM

All I know is that I’m tired of ten laps of racing in a three/four hour ‘race’. I hardly bother anymore. And don’t even get me started on the travesty called the ‘Chase’! But there may be a silver lining to all this. Maybe real race fans will wander on over to their nearest short track and see what real racing is all about. The best racing I ever watched was at the old Flemington Fairgrounds track in NJ. The most exciting ARCA and Truck racing I ever watched was at that track. ‘sigh’

07/13/2009 10:06 AM

I have been a fan since the early 80’s. Money ruins everything…….and it is doing it to Nascar. I have worked for Fortune 100 corporations and small companies. I will never work for another Fortune 100 if I can help it. All they care about is profit. They don’t care about the employee, the product or the customer as long as they keep making money. Well Nascar is victim of that too. Brian France in an a$$wipe. If he had any sense, he would look to add some of these great older tracks and encourage building different new ones. Heck, I hate Loudon, NH with a passion. I wish they would plow that place over. It is the worst track on the schedule. It is horrible racing and too flat. But at least it has has character and is unique. Why does it keep it’s races? Money! It’s the only New England venue. Rockingham is twice the racetrack. I’m getting really tired of the Nascar BS. If Mark Martin was retired, I wouldn’t even bother watching.

07/13/2009 10:10 AM

Good column , I have seasons tickets to Bristol and this is the final year I will attend . After 12 years of great races , they have gutted the soul and removed the excitement of the Bristol race. Every year they have asked for more of my money and sooner . and every year they take a little of what I came to Bristol for in the first place . Short track bumping and banging …. even the TV folks have a hard time getting excited for this race now. I mean 75 -100 green flag laps is not much fun for a Bristol fan . By the amount of email and advertising about the night race lately There are going to be empty seats no matter what the “official” attendance numbers say . Good lord I find myself watching F1 for more fun .

07/13/2009 10:25 AM

Bruton bought NH and Kentucky for one reason , investment . Same reason he bought Bristol and everything else hes ever purchased . But he only BUILDS 1.5 mile tracks . Does that help clear it up for you ?
For a writer you’re pretty thin skinned . You’ll find that to be a real problem as you get older . I’m impressed by your 20 years of fandom , but keep in mind that the sport was around for many decades before that . Your columns often reflect a complete lack of knowledge of the first 50 years of Nascar and the people in it .

07/13/2009 10:26 AM

Good comments on the cookie cutter tracks. As you may remember, the NFL/MLB went through this same issue in the late 60’s and early 70’s. You may recall the awful stadiums of Three Rivers, Veterans Memorial and River Front. They were designed to handle both baseball and football. They were bad for both sports. Dull, lifeless, and no personality. Then they all wised up and built sport specific stadiums, which please the fans of both sports.
This is the same with trying to have tracks to support open wheel and stock cars. Most times it does not work.

When you try to please everyone, you please no one….

07/13/2009 11:05 AM

Somebody needs to start a new racing league. The current one has lost it’s soul.

07/13/2009 11:50 AM

Another track that has the “buy the whole season” is Kansas. I live close the the track in Texas. You can buy a ticket for any race you want there. I would like to go to Kansas for the Cup/NW race in the fall but I have to buy the indy and truck in the spring also. In this economy I just can’t go to Kansas two times a year. There seems to be a lot of little things keeping people away from the tracks. I should also mention the hotels gouging the hello out of us also; Room rates more than double on race weekend.

07/13/2009 12:09 PM

The economy may have an influence on ticket sales but TV ratings are getting worse every week and the economy has nothing to do with that.

Fans just don’t care for NA$CAR anymore. Lets face it. The races are BORING!!!!!!

We used to watch every race. Now we maybe watch Bristol and Richmond. And we were hard core fans since the 70’s.

07/13/2009 12:14 PM

Amy – Totally agree with you about hitting up your local short track. The wife and I hit up Irwindale this past Saturday and saw some great racing. We came home and I fast forwarded through the Chicago yawn-fest and got through all 400 miles in about an hour, without missing any of the action.

Ford Fan
07/13/2009 12:47 PM

Hey I’ve been watching NASCAR and all types of racing for over 40 years. I remember Petty, Pearson, Yarborough, Foyt, Gurney (yes they used to run in NASCAR too). Does that make me a superior fan or more knowledgeable than someone who has been watching for only 5,10,15 or 20 years? No it doesn’t. Does someone who watched NASCAR in the 1950’s have more passion about the sport than me? Maybe. Maybe not.We all come to our current views of how good or bad NASCAR is today with different sport viewing histories. By the way not all the racing in the past was great. Ask Jeff Burton. Many of the old races were decided by most of the field being more than one lap down.
My suggestion to “fans” like Ryan is enjoy what is good and turn off or don’t go to what you consider awful. NASCAR being a business will get the message.

Tom don’t worry I hear prunes work well for older people when they get that uncomfortable feeling!

Kevin in SoCal
07/13/2009 12:48 PM

Tom said: “And as fans filled the seats, NASCAR-controlled ISC, Bruton Smith’s International Speedway Corporation,”

I cant believe nobody caught that. Bruton Smith owns Speedway Motorsports Inc, not ISC.

P on U
07/13/2009 01:00 PM

Unfortunately for those of us who loved this sport – it has all become cookie cutter. From the drivers to what they do and say and drink. They are all robots!

Jeff Burton almost let it slip out on Saturdays night’s race when he almost complained about Na$craps double file ‘shoot-out style’ restarts (shite). Careful now Jeff puppet, you don’t want that Na$crap lobotomy Tony got back in the day (back in line you).

Didn’t Burton say not too long ago that this is the best racing Na$crap has ever had!?!?!

Point proven. They are all mindless puppets living in the land of the free with their mouths tapped shut hoping the money still comes in. Well it is drying up! WTF happened to people being able to speak their minds? WTF happened to Nascar? Oh yeah it became Na$crap!


Thank you Frontstretch for giving us a place to vent!

P on U out!

07/13/2009 01:30 PM

Solution for the cookie cutter tracks…. Put a chicane in the back stretch.

07/13/2009 02:19 PM

We live only 2 hrs from Chicagoland and last year we said we weren’t going to renew or TRACK PACKS but we did. Now for sure we are NOT going back. We might attend the Truck race but hope to sell the IRL tix’s since Danica is from our area. Normally we end up giving away the 2nd weekend or throwing them away. The economy (TG) has not affected us yet so money is not the issue. Its boring races there. Most of the time it was just a high speed parade of cars going around in circles. We were hoping for the bogus cautions just to have side by side restarts to enjoy some side by side racing for a very short time. Some of you thought it was a snooze fest sitting on your couch watching it on TV being there was not any better. Watching TV you are forced to watch the leader running around in circles without withing 10-15 car lengths away to challenge them. At least normally at the track you can look around and find someone fighting for a spot. Not at Chicago very little of that.

We tried to listen to our driver on the scanner but there was a lot of track workers bleeding in on it so we gave up and listened to Kryle Busch. What a hoot listening to him curse up a storm and insult his team even to the the point of telling them he was never going to let them adjust on his car again. Wonder if that means they all are going to be fired and he do his own adjustments. He *#tched and moaned all night. He even got to the point that when asked what they could do for him he didn’t even answer. They quit even asking. He was even yelling at his spotter. People used to talk about Jr on the radio but I bet Kryle is worse.

07/13/2009 02:32 PM

Easy there Kevin in SoCal . I would think quite a few people caught that mistake , but Tom doesn’t seem to take kindly to people pointing out his errors . We all try to just let the majority of them go .

07/13/2009 03:07 PM

KRYLE was absolutely the most entertaining thing to listen to. Also interesting was listening to Brad/Tony Jr. Wow what a difference from tne JR/JR show. Very professional and very well done. I really thought Brad would have ended up ahead of Dale Jr except for some bad luck at the end.. Tom, if you let the complainers get under your skin, you are in trouble. I enjoy your writing and look foreward to it each week. If the complainers can do better, let them write a colunm and we can critique them for a change.

07/13/2009 03:40 PM

RE: TRACK PACS, or whatever Chicago sells, or tries to sell. I went to the Chicago speedway web site looking for IRL tickets.

The web site ONLY promoted TRACK PACS, and no-where to be found was individual IRL tickets.


So, I went to the “contact us” part, when I tried to send an e-mail, it said “out of office”, for about a month!

(this was maybe 3 weeks before the cup race).

ANYWAY, if all that makes sense! I would think the Speedway is in business to sell tickets, but maybe not!

Maybe they rely on selling Track Pacs to fill the IRL stands, sure don’t treat it, the IRL as a stand-alone series!

ARROGANCE I would call it! This track needs new management for sure!

07/13/2009 08:59 PM

Quit complaining and go to your local short-dirt-county fairgrounds track and take in a great show. You will see real racers and real race cars and it seems that everyone there is there for the same reason- the love of racing. You can get a beer and something to eat for less than your last paycheck,you can sit where you want and let the kids run without having a rent-a-nazi telling you when to breathe, in short you can still have a good time at a race without all the NASCAR bullcrap. Screw NASCAR they are’nt about racing anymore.

07/13/2009 10:41 PM

That Track Pass that Chicagoland offered killed them this year. I called the morning of the Cup race just to see if they were selling invididual tickets for the Cup race and they were not. I asked how much the package would be for the three remain races, starting price, $195, the same price for the package that included the Nationwide race. Had they reduced the ticket price I would have been in the stands, considering I bought my Nationwide ticket from stubhub for only 35 bucks, I wasn’t going to pay for a race that was already run. They lost a lot of money and respect in the racing world this weekend and hopefully next with individual tickets being sold, the attendence will go up. I love that there is a track so close to where I live and it is a beautiful track and everything is wonderful about it, but this year was embrassing.

Managing Editor
07/14/2009 11:50 AM

Just a quick note that Kevin’s error he pointed out yesterday has been fixed. As always, thanks for writing and reading the Frontstretch!

07/14/2009 01:35 PM

AWESOME article! Right on the money.

We need short tracks, and Saturday nights under the lights.

07/15/2009 07:45 AM

If fans are really disgusted about the current quality of racing and racetracks in NASCAR, the solution is right within their grasp.

As more people speak with their wallet, you do the same.

I guarantee you that everyone reading this column has a short track or two right in their reach. I’d also bet that the majority sat at home glued to the TV expecting an exciting race at Chicago instead of turning it off and heading to their local short track.

It’s a pretty simple choice. Continue to sit and watch TV, expecting things to improve (in which case you need to stop complaining about the racing and the track), or get up and go back to seeing real racing and support your local local community in the process. Tivo’s and DVR’s are your friends.


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Recent articles from Tom Bowles:

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