Loudon ~ Bruton Is Sitting on a Gold Mine
I just finished watching the Camping World Truck Racing Series race from Eldora. I’ve been looking forward to it all season. Love the trucks. To me the only thing better than a truck race is a truck race on dirt. Eldora did not disappoint as ThorSport teammates Chase Briscoe and Grant Enfinger banged door to door through the overtime, with Briscoe coming out with the dramatic win.
It was some kind of finish.
As I multi-tasked through the race, keeping one eye and as much ear as I could, all things considered on the race and one eye working on this week’s Fantasy Racing postings from Loudon, I couldn’t help but think about the how exciting Eldora was tonight versus how nonplussed our Fantasy racers seemed to be about Sunday’s race at Loudon. You won’t find that hardly anyone’s favorite track.
Channeling my inner Humpy Wheeler, I asked myself “if that track was mine, what would I do?” and the answer was crystal clear...
Cover it with dirt and make it the first Cup race on dirt in modern times.
Tony Stewart, Eldora owner and promoter has seen the success of the trucks at his dirt track and has asked fans to put the pressure on NASCAR to bring the Xfinity series to his track. Humpy Wheeler, who gave the command to start engines at Wednesday’s race said the time is right to bring them to dirt. Just add more seats and you’d be in business.
If I were Bruton Smith, I’d beat them to the punch and fire up the loaders, dump trucks and graders and turn Loudon into a one mile dirt track for a Cup and Xfinity race weekend. Leave the trucks at Eldora, but bring the cars to race on dirt at Loudon for the first Cup dirt race since 1970.
Before you say you can’t do that, ARCA races on one mile dirt tracks at DuQuoin and Springfield now and those tracks have less banking than Loudon. Besides, Bruton knows how to move dirt and convert tracks. He’s done it before at Bristol. With those high banks that was no small task-but he did it. A flat track like Loudon would be a piece of cake for him. Heck, if he can change Charlotte into a road course converting Loudon to dirt would be child’s play for him.
He has a track that needs serious help. The racing is far from ideal and attendance is on an unfavorable trajectory. Viewership is on a similar path. Dirt could help turn that.
Bruton has the track. He has the infrastructure already in place-no seats to add. More importantly no parking to add or rest rooms to construct or bring in. Most importantly he already has a Cup date. The fan interest is apparently there... all he needs is dirt.
The marketing opportunities and publicity from being the first one to bring Cup back to dirt would be huge. This could make SMI’s Charlotte ROVAL efforts pale in comparison. Such a move would further secure Bruton’s position as the sports leader-first to bring lights to the track, first to convert an oval to a ROVAL, first to bring Cup back to dirt.
ISC isn’t going to do it. This would be too extreme for them. The only way I can see that happening is if they bought Eldora. Even then, they would have to take a date from their tracks to give to Eldora. Can you see that happening?
Tony might be able to pull it off. He has the dirt. He has some stands, not enough, but some. He may be short on infrastructure but most importantly he doesn’t have a date. That could take some time... time Bruton could use to set up and get a dirt race or two under his belt.
If I were Bruton I’d do it and do it now. I’d play off of Tony’s media push and Eldora’s buzz and announce it this weekend that next year’s Loudon race will be on dirt. Then I’d fire up my marketing machine and earth-moving equipment to make it happen.
Think about it.
So when you are watching the race this weekend, think about this and ask yourself would this racing be better on dirt?
The best thing about all this is that if it isn’t, what have you lost? You can always take the dirt up, clean things up and give the fans what they have right now for 2020. But you can only be first to do this once. Now is the time to take that chance. Bring Cup to dirt in 2019. Do it at Loudon.
Instead of a boring track known for bad racing, Bruton may just be sitting on a gold mine. All he needs to do is just add a little dirt.