In the brief time since it was made official this afternoon that New Hampshire Motor Speedway is losing its September race to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2018, I’ve seen plenty of NASCAR fans grumbling on Twitter about the loss of a short track and the addition of another cookie cutter 1.5-mile track.
Usually I’d be right there with them (More short tracks!!!) but not in the case of New Hampshire. The truth is NHMS is not a very exciting track for stock cars.
When is the last great NHMS Cup race you’ve seen? I asked myself that as well, and I can’t remember one. The common refrain during New Hampshire weekend is the Modified race is the best event at the track, and that’s true — not only because it’s a good race, but because the Cup race is usually a bad one.
Last year, both New Hampshire races rated in the bottom seven points races of my weekly “Was it a good race?” Twitter poll. And that’s where they should have been, because they weren’t very good races.
Let’s just be honest here: As much as cookie cutter tracks are boring, Las Vegas had a better race than NHMS last year (71 percent of people liked that race as opposed to 50 percent and 48 percent for the two New Hampshire races, respectively). If you want to call NHMS a short track because it’s only 1 mile, then I guess that’s fine — but it certainly doesn’t race like one.
Plus, it’s not like NASCAR isn’t going there at all anymore — just one less time. Seriously, did NASCAR really need to visit New Hampshire twice in 10 weeks every year? I don’t think so.
Look, it would suck if this was going to add another 1.5-mile track to the playoffs and the overall schedule, but it’s not. As Nate Ryan reported yesterday, they’re likely going to take the Charlotte fall race and run it on the infield road course.
So what is NASCAR really trading here? The actual swap is a ho-hum flat track race in exchange for a road race — in the playoffs!
What’s so wrong with that?