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Learning a Lesson?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR

Learning a Lesson?

Jeremy T. Sellers
Jerm's Joint
September 4, 2007

Now my opinion may be clouded on this topic, but it comes from asking others theirs. I among many, were dismayed when NASCAR opted to rob Darlington's second race of the season in lieu of adding one at California Speedway. Reason being more seats, more marketability, therefore more money out west than the smaller, heavily traditional egg shaped oval. Surely this made our west coast fair-haired fans ecstatic knowing they would be able to chalk up another race and deprive most of the east coast base saturated with tradition, out of a long-lived anthology of southern Labor Day Weekend racing.

With that said, I would find it difficult for even the Fontana fan to be able to state straight-faced that racing at California Speedway is exciting. Certainly, the Busch race had a couple awesome, and fearful crashes, but this facility has always lacked the exhilaration that most other speedways on the circuit offer. Even then, the bland tracks wised up quickly, revamping their design. Homestead and Las Vegas have both re-banked their tracks and in turn, have added the much needed zest to those tracks that had been absent since their inception. Yet, California still remains the flat, multi-grooved yet hard to pass, boring as hell piece of shit it has been since the NASCAR's two premier series started running there. However, after this weekends AQUOS 500, Kevin Harvick put the proof in the pudding.

Certainly the weather was nothing short of a bake oven out west this weekend, but those of us who have endured Daytona in July, Bristol in August, or even Phoenix in November usually don't hold being hard boiled as a factor to not attend an event. However, Harvick made mention in his televsion interview prior to the race how disappointed he was at the amount of empty seats Sunday night. This is an issue we debated after the spring race at Fontana if you recall. There were an abundance of empty seats, yet many claimed that it had sold out for the early season event, and lest we find the same has occured for the holiday weekend proceedings as well. Argue if you so desire, but it cannot be denied that people had plenty of elbow room Sunday night. Could it possibly be that even the west coaster are saying "blah" when it comes to California Speedway? Will NASCAR realize that by violating a long-standing racing tradition for hopes of some dinero has come back to bite them in the ass? OR, in their usual stubborn ways will they turn a cheek to what is so apparent: boring track, boring race, lots of empty seats?

Give back the fall race at Darlington. The facility is going through a multitude of changes all the way up to resurfacing. Fans want to see competitive racing, they want to see the infamous Darlington Stripe, they want to hear the sounds of crunching sheet metal, and choke on the stench of burning rubber. It's time NASCAR quits robbing its own fans, and for once, gives back to them.

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