Atlanta Motor Speedway is the latest track making changes to its layout and/or design. What track should be next? Which one should absolutely remain untouched?
Trenton Worsham: New Hampshire Motor Speedway or another mile-and-a-half. I don’t like how flat NHMS is, and it’d be cool to make each mile-and-a-half unique. Tracks to not touch would be Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Martinsville Speedway.
Luken Glover: Richmond Raceway is one that should be looked at, especially if we see a similar race in September to the ones we’ve seen the past few trips. Richmond has tailored many of their amenities to appeal to fans even more, and it has worked. The fan experience at the short track is among the best on the circuit. However, the racing has not complemented it the past few seasons. Sealing the track could be an option, or feeding off Atlanta and adjusting the banking is intriguing. Richmond matches the luster of a short track but needs some alterations to get back to it. Homestead-Miami Speedway is one I would not lay a finger on.
Kevin Rutherford: Stop retooling existing tracks and go to new-to-the-schedule ones that’ll put on better racing than what places like Atlanta could ever hope for, changes or not. The question of whether or not the revamping of a track (repave, reconfiguration, whatever) will actually help or harm the racing has become tiring; if it truly improved a track in all capacities every time, fine. But the general gist seems to be that the changes as of late have done the opposite.
Chase Elliott will become the first active NASCAR Cup Series driver to compete in the Camping World SRX Series. Should active top-level drivers participate in the new series?
Worsham: It would be great to see SRX stay as is. That or have a special race. Throw 12 regulars and 12 Cup guys together for a 24-car field and see if the young guns can beat the old dogs.
Rutherford: If Kyle Larson and others can go run at local dirt tracks across the country, why wouldn’t Chase Elliott or any other NASCAR regular be able to do SRX? It’s not like these guys have exclusivity deals with NASCAR. If SRX wants to admit them and said drivers want to race, go ahead. It’ll probably help ticket sales and/or TV audience (especially with Elliott going against his dad).
Glover: SRX is unique in that it hosts legends and veterans of racing. It is compelling to see it bring on young drivers looking to prove themselves (such as Hailie Deegan), but I like it as a separate series for now. However, a race with both SRX regulars and Cup drivers facing off would be an option. It would definitely draw viewership and goes back to the roots of young vs. old.
With Trackhouse Racing Team purchasing Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operation and expanding to two teams next year, where does that leave current CGR drivers Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain?
Rutherford: There’s chatter that one of the two Trackhouse rides could actually go to someone other than Kurt Busch or Ross Chastain, someone who’d be a big surprise and would potentially be a step down on paper from Busch and Chastain. Rumors, though! Ideally, Chastain stays with Trackhouse and helps it continue to improve, especially with the way he’s been running in recent weeks. Busch? Shoot over to 23XI Racing or GMS Racing or something; Trackhouse would be better served trying to built its program around budding stars instead of someone who can still get the job done but may not be around much longer.
Glover: Busch recently said he had already been in talks with Trackhouse. He implied that it would be very familiar to CGR since several members would stay within the organization. Busch also has the advantage of sponsorship with Monster Energy and the veteran leadership to aid Daniel Suarez. Chastain is one of the biggest talents in the sport and should not be passed up on. It all really depends on what Busch wants to do. If he does get the second Trackhouse car, I could see Chastain getting the new ride at GMS.
Worsham: Chastain stays at what will become Trackhouse and Busch goes to 23XI.
The Camping World Truck Series makes its debut at Knoxville Raceway, another dirt track, this week. How many races should the trucks run on dirt each year?
Glover: Two to three dirt races would be a good number. Dirt racing holds a special place for many race fans, and it adds drama and parity to the sport. There should not be too many dirt races, just as there shouldn’t be too many road courses. It should be reserved for events that will be intriguing and add extra excitement to the season. The dirt races now do a good job of that.
Worsham: Eldora Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway on dirt would be enough for me. I see dirt as something special or unique, and having too many dirt races will lose its luster. Even in a six-week series like SRX, the two dirt tracks were the perfect amount. Maybe exchange the extra dirt tracks for the many smaller hometown tracks the Truck Series used to visit, such as South Boston Speedway, or a newcomer, like Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
Rutherford: Happy with two, would be over the moon with three (get back to Eldora, please). Having at least two dirt races now better incentivizes teams to invest in a dirt chassis instead of buying one it can race just once a year. If the cost is such that three races would be better than two, let’s see it. This is coming from someone who loves the shaking up of the entry lists at dirt tracks every year, with teams bringing out extra trucks or new organizations showing up for a one-off. It’s why I’d like to see Cup run more than one as well.