As I slowly start noticing the darkness creep in a little earlier each day this time of year, I started considering tracks that I have yet to see under the lights. I think most fans get use to a track having a day race and can't picture the cars flying at nearly 200 mph under the lights. In this post I want to pin-point 3 tracks that NASCAR should look at giving a night race! When considering this I wanted to channel my inner fan and choose three places I would be overly excited to see at night. Well, enough of me blabbering, let's get to it!
Race fans love old school Saturday night racing under the lights, and Martinsville is the perfect place to channel that. With plenty of beating and banging, fans love the paper-clip, and adding the element of night could only make the race better. Honestly, I can't believe NASCAR has not considered this yet. I can just picture 43 cars beating and banging around hair-pin turns under the lights. Fans already enjoy night racing, and love short tracks. Short track racing is where NASCAR started so putting a classic track such as Martinsville under the lights would channel some nostalgia for classic race fans. I know I enjoy going to local short tracks to watch local drivers fight for pride each week, just imagine the pros going 500 laps into the night! Just gives me excitement typing this!! Martinsville is currently the only short track without a night race, so I think NASCAR should definitely consider this as an option for the future. Perhaps put the fall race at night in October, then the Chase would have two official night races!
I know this seems unfathomable to some, but could you imagine the craziness of Talladega at night? Obviously night racing is doable considering the annual Coke Zero 400, so this could definitely be an option. Currently Talladega Superspeedway does not have lights around the track, but this is minor work in the grand scheme of things. If NASCAR were to make this event possible I couldn't wait to watch this race. Daytona is amazing, but just imagine a bigger pack with more cars dancing around the 2.66 mile beast at night!! I could be wrong, but I honestly believe fans would embrace a night race under the Alabama sky, and make this a crown jewel on the schedule. This is one decision I think NASCAR could make that no one would have an issue with. If this idea were to ever come alive this race will truly be spectacle, no matter the result.
3. Watkins Glen
I totally understand the issue with having a road-course night race. Visibility and safety are definitely huge issues, but something I think could be dealt with. Now, I don't plan on this ever happening, but it is possible. If the proper lighting were built the chances of Cup drivers handling left and right hand turns under the lights could become very real. Lighting will be the biggest obstacle, but that is easily fixable. NASCAR and Watkins Glen officials would need to develop a lighting system that could decrease the number of light polls around the track, or NASCAR could experiment with giving cars headlights for this event. Now, before you start yelling at me about adding headlights, do remember that NASCAR already showcases changes for Watkins Glen, like a reversed fuel system and the option of wiper blades in case of rain. Though lights would be something NASCAR has yet to do, racing engineers could learn from the Lemans series to find what options could work best.
Overall, I don't expect any of these tracks to get night races, especially no time soon, but you never know. Martinsville would be a perfect night race, and NASCAR loves ratings so adding a restrictor plate race under the lights only helps put more money in NASCAR's pockets. As for Watkins Glen, this would be a lot of work, but I think fans would enjoy seeing drivers go right and left under the lights. In my opinion all tracks should have lights for a handful of reasons, but that is another topic for another day. I know there is a lot of work that goes into planning these developments, but I think it would be worth it in the end. As an avid fan my self I would love these changes, and I think many other fans would agree. With the recent 5-year contracts with all 23 race tracks, NASCAR will need to do something to spice up the schedule, and this could be one option that sticks out.
Thanks for reading!! Let me know what you think, and what tracks you would like to see go under the lights!!! Remember to follow me on twitter @nascar_opinion!! Have a great rest of your day!