Has Knoxville Raceway had conversations with NASCAR about a dirt race? “Yes”
The Eldora Dirt Derby is a huge success for the NASCAR Truck Series. The 2017 race was the fifth running of the NASCAR dirt race.
Now, there’s a lot of talk in the NASCAR world about adding a 2nd dirt race to the NASCAR schedule. Anytime a NASCAR driver is asked to list possible new dirt tracks, Knoxville is toward or at the top of the list.
So, we know the NASCAR drivers want to come to Knoxville Raceway. We also know most of the fans want a NASCAR race at Knoxville. But has anything happened?
I spoke with the Knoxville Raceway promoter about this very topic. He confirmed the track has had meetings with NASCAR in the past, on the speedway grounds.
Have you had any conversations with NASCAR?
“Well yes. We have,” stated John McCoy the Knoxville Raceway track promoter.
“We had a conversation with them 4 years ago probably. They had some people come down from the Iowa Speedway.”
Iowa Speedway is a division of NASCAR. It’s one of a few tracks that NASCAR directly owns itself. The people that run Iowa Speedway work directly for the sanctioning body.
So what were the results or concerns of that conversation?
“It was never anything yay or nay about it. I don’t think they want to run against guardrails. I think they wanna run against a concrete wall.”
“Right now, we’re a great barrier for sprint cars. So, I haven’t heard anything else from them.”
However, with NASCAR, you’re talking about a 3,500 racecar. That’s a stark difference to the usual class of racecars at Knoxville, sprint cars.
The guardrail does just fine for light, high powered dirt cars. Recently. they even installed an extra 5 feet of fencing above that. That was to prevent sprint cars from climbing the tall guardrail and rolling off onto the street behind it. A situation that happened last year.
“He’s not going to be able to do that now,” stated John McCoy.
With a 3,500 racecar, the height of the wall isn’t really the main issue. The thickness is the concern. Forget about climbing the wall. It’s possible that a car with that kind of mass could take a different route to the street, driving right through it.
If NASCAR came to Knoxville Raceway, the wall would likely need to be replaced. The 5 inch thick guardrails would need to be substituted for something that can keep a 3,500 within track boundaries.
Would you change the wall if that was a requirement for hosting a NASCAR show?
“Well, we’d definitely have to see what the costs are. And what would be involved to make it the way we want it to be, for the sprint cars. It would be a lot of investment.”
“I know where the margins are on that stuff too, for us. See what Eldora’s doing. There would be a lot of exposure.”
“There would be more brains than mine working on it. I’ll tell ya.”
Author: Shane Walters