It’s Sounding More and More Like the NASCAR All-Star Race Is on the Move
There’s every reason to believe that fans will be privy to the official 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule by the end of the month, though some of the news has been coming out here and there.
One of the biggest unknowns for now is a race of minimal significance beyond the fact that it pays $1 million to the winner. But every time someone mentions it makes it sound as though the NASCAR All-Star Race has seen the last of Texas Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR All-Star Race began as a North Carolina fixture
The NASCAR All-Star Race began in 1985. Other than a venture to Atlanta in 1986 and a detour to Bristol in 2020 because of the pandemic, the event stayed at Charlotte Motor Speedway until NASCAR moved it to Texas Motor Speedway in 2021.
The move to the Lone Star State was part of the sport’s biggest schedule overhaul in recent years. NASCAR added a slew of road courses, and Texas Motor Speedway was one of the ovals that lost a points-race date in the process. Giving the track the All-Star Race helped cushion the blow.
NASCAR has toyed with the format and saw attendance and the atmosphere improve this year, but most constituencies have regarded the race as a dud.
Multiple calls for moving the All-Star Race
Drivers Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin said this season that they wanted to move the All-Star Race.
“We should rotate,” Elliott told reporters at Kansas the week before Ryan Blaney captured the All-Star Race title in May. “I think that’s what that race was initially designed to do, to move around and give fans in the different regions a special event like an All-Star Race.”
Sports Business Journal reported that Fox Sports came away largely pleased with TV ratings for the first half of the season before handing off the remainder of the schedule to NBC. However, network VP Bill Wanger spoke of the desire to see continued innovation like the move to the Los Angeles Coliseum for the Busch Light Clash.
Wanger said in late June that Fox is working with NASCAR on moving the race to different locations each year.
Add Ford’s racing czar to the list of those calling for change
Meeting with the racing media this week, Mark Rushbrook, the global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, added his name to the list of influential figures interested in seeing NASCAR move the All-Star Race out of Texas Motor Speedway.
“These are just my ideas (but) take it to a different market, just like we did with The Clash, somewhere very different,” he said. “Because right now or in recent history, the All-Star is in many ways very similar to any other NASCAR weekend, other than it’s fewer drivers in the feature race and different stage lengths, different qualifying format, stuff like that.”
When the drivers are clamoring for change, and its television and manufacturer partners are saying much the same, can NASCAR ignore the need to move on from Texas Motor Speedway?
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