NASCAR has been looking for a spark for their annual All-Star race. The sport rode the momentum from the inaugural running of the event for years. “One Hot Night” was one of the most exciting nights in the history of our sport, but not many exciting All-Star races have followed. Things like the pit crew competition years ago, unique qualifying and multiple different formats have been experimented with to help the event, but have failed for the most part.
This season, stage racing was incorporated, with an elimination style event, and two different tire compounds were offered. None of that worked, yes the race may have been a tad better than 2016 overall, but it wasn’t a very good event in its own right.
So, with all that being said, what should the sport do to fix the annual race? Change the location.
The All-Star race needs to be a 150 lap short track Saturday night race, under the lights at Martinsville. They can do multiple things to make the event bigger than Charlotte. Possibly a Heat Race, B-Main and A-Main format like the trucks run at Eldora, or a similar elimination style race. The track could also bring in the asphalt late models to make it a doubleheader weekend to remember for short track fans.
This could also open the door for Iowa to take Martinsville’s spring race. NASCAR fans have been asking for an Iowa race in the near future, but it isn’t expected until 2020 at the earliest, when track contracts with NASCAR are set to expire for a big number of facilities.
This may be a big change, but it could be the spark the event needs to return to the magic it once had.