Kentuckiana Motorsports Presented By Lucas Oil
It is a big night Saturday at the Sportsdrome Speedway! It will be standing room only! The School Buses hit the track in a massive Figure 8 showdown! Track owner Mike Gibson has much more including Butterfly and Kidney Bean races. And toss in the Trailer, Mini-Van, and Young Gun events! It you like non-stop action and excitement it will happen Saturday evening at the Sportdrome. It is just off Interstate 65 in Jeffersonville (About 5 minutes from downtown Louisville). Gates Open about 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 to 25. You can bet Mike will add more events! Concession prices, always friendly. Get there early!
It is the Brickyard this weekend for the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series. No doubt Roger Penske and his team have brought new life to the track since he bought it in late 2019. Yes, a historic track. Always will be. Lets hope the Next Gen car will allow for better racing. Over the years, the long flat track hasn't produced super exciting action.
NASCAR does its best as the sport evolves. But some could say its made a couple optic blunders lately. Let's start with Pocono and the disqualifications of Joe Gibbs racers Denny Hamlin (Took the checkered flag first) and Kyle Busch (Finished right behind Hamlin). The two star drivers and their teams reportedly violated NASCAR Cup aero rules, or there was something on with the the front car area, or front fascia. After the fast DQ's, Chase Elliott was elevated to the top position, and declared the winner. No one condones cheating. For decades and decades teams have pushed the limit. With the new car, everyone knows the rules. Perhaps the #11 and the #18 should have been disqualified. NASCAR is sending a strong message! Right?
NASCAR has witnessed many empty seats this season. Much needed corporate sponsors are not in abundant supply. M & M's is leaving Kyle Busch after this year. A challenging economy has people staying home and watching racing on television. So NASCAR decides to harshly lower the boom on Hamlin after what would have been a record seven wins at Pocono. Did NASCAR watch the post-race? Despite some boo's over his racing with the #1 car of Ross Chastain, Hamlin was greatly appreciated. And there's no doubt his young daughter was in the spotlight with Hamlin after the victory, even hopping a ride in his winning Toyota.
So, NASCAR must send a message, and now! Boot two long-time drivers out of first and second place. Did Hamlin and Busch know about the aero rules violation when they got into their cars to take the green flag? Did the crew chief? Did Joe Gibbs? Immediately, NASCAR "lumped all in one basket" for the good of the game. And just a short time after the race was over, took its sharp knife and cut away the cancer. Maybe teams had been warned and warned and warned. One might suggest NASCAR could have waited until 24 or 48 hours to impose its justice. Could NASCAR not have called Joe Gibbs into its NASCAR hauler had given Joe a good thorough, firm talk, and then dispensed its justice? Had Joe be told inside the hauler his two drivers would not advance to the playoffs if another such violation happened, that would have been an extremely strong message to say the least. Is NASCAR saying, Joe Gibbs is crooked? NASCAR decided to flex its muscles, immediately. Make an example. It turned off two fan bases. Perhaps the justice is deserved, but very, very bad optics.
Now on to Chicago and the big announcement by NASCAR to run a "street course race" there in 2023. Many called it a bold and brilliant move! Really? Some might consider it pure greed. A top TV market and big race sponsor dollars. Once again, NASCAR is slapping the fan smack in the face. From 2001 to 2019 NASCAR held races at Chicagoland Speedway, outside the city. Early on, fans attended. In the latter years, empty seats appeared. Racing on the 1.5 mile cookie-cutter track became stale. Chicago never really embraced the event, or sport. So, lets go back to Chicago and race on the streets! Given societal issues of the day, can NASCAR guarantee fan safety? What about the safety of teams, crews, families, and haulers? What about the costs? There are far more worthy selections: St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Toronto, or perhaps Iowa. Chicago, really?
Haven't heard much from Tony Stewart this year in NASCAR. Stewart-Haas seems committed to NASCAR. And he's busy with NHRA too. And his SRX Series too. Take note, the last of the six summer SRX races this past weekend had a dynamic field and it sold out in no time. Action on old school short tracks. The backbone of stock car racing. Chase Elliott took the checkered flag in the Ohio race. Marco Andretti won the 2022 season title by two points over Ryan Newman. CBS aired the six races and no doubt loves the SRX Series. No SRX isn't NASCAR. But race fans love fierce racing, side-by-side battles, short track racing, and all the excitement surrounding SRX. Tony Stewart gets it. The question: How far does Stewart want to go to grow his SRX owned series? He doesn't have to compete against NASCAR. Just offer a better product. Tony is doing just that, and he knows it.
Louisville's Ben Rhodes is one of 10 drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs. The 2021 Truck Champion started the season very strong, but in the past half-dozen races, his team looked less focused. Maybe Ben and team owners ThorSport Racing, have been holding back, waiting for the playoffs. We'll soon find out.
Summer is slowly winding down. Believe it or not, school will start soon. Whether driving to a local race, vacation, school, or across town, Lucas Oil Products work! They can help extend life to your car or truck, and provide better performance. We thank Lucas Oil as a huge longtime sponsor. Other backers: PNC Bank (Sponsor of Scott Dixon's Indy Car Series Car), Sportsdrome Speedway (Celebrating more than 75 years of Racing!) locally owned Bright Pest Control and Bright Retail in Louisville, (Offering Do-It-Yourself Professional Pest Products with a retail store), and Knox Ford in Radcliff (KY). KMS supporters also include: VoiceTel Kentucky (Offering telephone service for $30.00 a line, and that includes all taxes and fees), Temco Roofing, Andriots Paint, Flooring, & Blinds, ICA Dumpsters, Kentucky Raceway Ministries, St. Matthews Cycling, Nimlok Kentucky, Dynamic Healthcare, and Lyndon Mower Repair. We also thank our media connections in all series, especially NASCAR and with NASCAR Media for helping us bring the sport to the fans!
Enjoy the racing!