Many NASCAR drivers are frustrated with lack of communication; Some wanted a short track
Atlanta Motor Speedway just hosted it’s last race with it’s current configuration. When the sport returns next year, we’ll see something silly.
The new Atlanta Motor Speedway will be narrow. The race track will be trimmed from 55 feet to 40 feet. It will also be banked at 28 degrees.
Atlanta is a property owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc. The same company that broke Bristol, repaved then lost Kentucky and made Texas worse.
The Atlanta track was modeled in iRacing. A clip of the track shows cars in a pack implying they’re trying to create pack racing, on a 1.5-mile track. So far, only Daytona and Talladega feature pack racing, both are 2.5 mile tracks.
The drivers were frustrated with the surprise. So far, Kurt Busch is the only driver that said he spoke to the track ahead of the announcement. The rest of the drivers have felt in the dark.
Kevin Harvick wanted a short track
“I don’t think it’s very good. I think the proper thing do to would probably to build a short track,” Harvick told Frontstretch.
“The cheapest thing to do, I think, would be to just leave the walls where they are and hope for the best. I don’t think that worked out well for Texas, and don’t think it worked out well for Bristol, I don’t think it worked out well for Kentucky. I don’t think any of those were very good.”
“If you keep winging it and don’t get drivers’ input, you’re just going to keep getting the same conclusion.”
Harvick added, “You would think that you would want the driver’s input. A lot of times, I think the process is that we need to make the drivers uncomfortable and instead you end up with a media press conference that ends up being about a repave that you didn’t ask any of the drivers about.”
Denny Hamlin talks the disconnect between drivers and NASCAR
“Just a broken down process and that’s what is so frustrating. The process is just broken,” Denny Hamlin stated during a pre-race Toyota press conference.
“I look at a lot of the responses and people are like, ‘why should they listen to you all because you’re always going to look at what’s in your best interest and agenda is.’ The thing is, as drivers, just tell us the agenda.”
“Do you want speedway racing here? Okay. We don’t like it, but here’s what you need to do to get there. We’ll help you accomplish that, just tell us the goal.”
“Don’t mix the message by saying you’re going to see something you’ve never seen and they show a clip of iRacing cars racing in a pack, but yet you want your surface to match the old.”
“That’s counter-intuitive, you can’t make it narrower and a superspeedway. Those two things don’t match up.”
Hamlin added, “Again, I think we can help, we’re an asset. We are the biggest asset that NASCAR and these tracks can have, just tell us your goals. We may not agree with the goal, but we can help them get to where they want to go.”
ISC is re-building Auto Club Speedway, with input from drivers
Auto Club Speedway is owned by ISC. The 2-mile track is set to be totally destroyed and reborn as a lovely half-mile track.
“ISC usually does [ask for driver input]. When they were talking about reconfiguring California, iRacing built the track and they sent out the beta version for I think six or seven of us to try,” Hamlin said.
“Run it, send us your feedback, send us an email of what you think, what we need to change and we’ll re-CAD it and try to do something different. That is the kind of input, again, we know what they’re trying to accomplish there. They want almost a banked Martinsville where you have fast speeds and then you slow down so that gives an opportunity for a guy to run into someone.”
“That’s what they want so we’re going to try to help them get that accomplished. That’s where you can work together as a team and try to make it better. I just think that the drivers fell super disconnected that our input is not asked [from SMI].”
“Not because we’re looking out for ourselves, but I think what they’re trying to accomplish is not feasible under what the current configuration is that they’re going with.”
ISC vs SMI
“It is [different with SMI]. Each track operator has their own agenda. ISC and SMI, they do things a little bit differently. SMI is very fan, what do the fans want, we just want to do whatever it takes to make the fans happy and put on a great show for them. ISC is a little mix of competition.”
“Where the disconnect is, is we just have to stop with the novelties. Be what we’re good at and let’s just do that. Why are we trying to reach outside of what NASCAR has always been about for a long time.”
“Trans-Am is not as popular as us for a reason. We are big, heavy stock cars on ovals and we’re full contact, that’s why people strive and want to be in NASCAR. I hate that we’re going away from that through novelties.”