Has All-Star race lost its luster? For good and for bad, NASCAR, in the minds of many, has gone out of its way to mimic the NFL’s success. While that has led to some unprecedented gains in popularity, the two also share in one area of disappointment : All-Star events that frequently fail to live up to expectations.
Ironically, both the NFL and NASCAR have had their showcase exhibitions in the same place for more than 20 years: The NFL in Hawaii and NASCAR’s in Charlotte. However, with that stagnancy in location has come criticism that the All-Star events these cities represent frequently become meaningless, more about show than actual substance.
Well, for NASCAR, it’s time for that mentality to change, and the best way to do that is to propose a solution as unpopular for the teams as it is practical for the fans watching at home. It’s time for the race to leave Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Forget Daytona or Bristol, Charlotte used to be the place where you saw some of the most exciting finishes of the year. Who can forget Davey Allison spinning across the finish line in ‘92, winning the All-Star race sideways as Kyle Petty sent him hard into the outside wall? Or the race in ‘95 that saw legends Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip crash each other in the final laps, opening the door for a young man named Jeff Gordon to burst onto the scene and win his first All-Star competition at 23.
In recent years, though, the race simply has lost its luster. The track itself has struggled since a “levigation” and subsequent repaving in 2005 have left drivers scrambling to find a second groove at a facility that used to have three or four. Add in the dreaded “aero push” that seems to affect racing at intermediate tracks, and it’s no wonder the side-by-side racing fans crave at an All-Star race has been increasingly rare. More at sportsillustrated.com
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