NASCAR has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at their All-Star event in recent years. From ever-changing formats and elimination processes, to adding money incentives and field sizes; the sport has never shied away from trying new ideas.
But there’s one change they continue to avoid; moving it.
Since the inaugural All-Star event in 1985, all but one race has been ran at Charlotte Motor Speedway. For many years Charlotte was a venue that provided great action and exciting races, but in recent years the All-Star event has seen the exact opposite. The final segment, which is annually hyped up as some of the most exciting 10 laps in all of racing, has left fans with a empty feeling throughout the past few years. Whomever is able to get out into the race lead rarely gets chased down due to the fact that clean air is so important on 1.5-mile tracks.
So that brings us to what seems to be a popular topic of conversation, is it time to take the All-Star away from Charlotte? The simple answer is yes.
While some traditionalists may argue that moving the event from Charlotte would be too unconventional, there really isn’t any limelighted argument in favor of keeping it at the 1.5-mile track. Everyone knows that a majority of the people working in NASCAR enjoy it being in Charlotte because it’s so close to home, but their desires shouldn’t outweigh what the fans want. Drivers and team members have an obligation with the sport; the fans don’t. The fans aren’t paid to come to the All-Star race or to watch on TV; which is why NASCAR needs to change something to help the event withhold it’s significance.
Moving the All-Star race to different venues could easily fix the issue NASCAR has with fans complaining about the event being too boring and predictable.
“The race should either be moved to daytime or moved to a different track,” said passionate NASCAR fan Elijah Burke after Saturday night’s event. “Fans want to see passing and this is a race purely for fans, racing hard and bragging rights. You can’t pass on a 1.5 miler when everyone’s hugging the bottom!”
There are many different ways in which the sport could go about moving the race. Put on a All-Star bidding event each year, in which the track’s who are interested in hosting the event bid against each other for the race. Maybe let the All-Star winning driver choose where the event will be hosted for the next year. There’s no doubt that other racetracks would love to play host to the event, and there are others who quite frankly based off of previous races deserve the All-Star event more than Charlotte.
“I think you look at other sports and there All-Star games switch venues all the time,” said second-place finisher Kyle Larson. “It’s the same game, so it doesn’t really make a difference other than the venue. But for us I think its really cool to change the venue. I don’t know if racetracks could bid on the All-Star race or bid on the final race of the season, but I think that’d be really cool and it would open up different fan bases to come see a big event. You know you’re not gonna get many people from the West Coast to fly out here for the All-Star race, I don’t think. It’d be cool have like a All-Star race at Fontana or Vegas or Sonoma… It’d be cool to switch it up every year…”
Can you imagine a All-Star race under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway, where the drivers would be bumping and banging for the $1 million prize? Maybe take it to Talladega, a track that would undoubtedly provide a memorable All-Star event. Or take it a whole ‘nother direction and put it on a road course, where some of the most exciting racing has taken place in the sport’s recent years.
Bottom line is the All-Star race needs to be moved, and there are plenty of other tracks that could easily put on an action-filled spectacle. Charlotte has had a long tenure as the home track to NASCAR’s All-Star event, but too much of one thing usually leads to stale feelings. That stale inkling is how a majority of the folks around the sport feel, and have felt for too long now.