In Defense of Texas Motor Speedway...

LewTheShoe

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*taps foot, struggling to find something nice to say about this track*
Most everyone here on R-F loves to dump on Texas Motor Speedway. I harbor no illusions about changing their minds, but personally I think it's a bum rap.

My #1 criteria for a race - any race, every race - is always the same... Is it a stern test of driving skill with results typically determined by meritocracy? If it is, then I'm entertained. If it's not, then it should be.

Before the 2017 repave, TMS was an awesome behemoth... very fast, very abrasive, tire-eating monster. Not quite a Darlington or Homestead, but definitely toward that end of the scale. People complained there wasn't enough side-by-side racing, which always seemed a bogus complaint to me. The objective is to pass that sucker, not to motor along beside him. (And now people are complaining there is *too much* side-by-side at Bristol... go figure.) It was always possible for a quicker car to pass a slower one, and the best drivers often worked their way from the back to the front. A skill-based meritocracy.

When the 2017 repave went down, the banking reconfiguration was designed for proper race cars... a full measure of horsepower, low drag, low downforce. As always, the smooth, high grip, fresh pavement was a setback to the quality of racing. And the high amount of side force remained problematic too. But it was still possible to pass a slower car. Better drivers in better cars often advanced from the back to the front. They did it by pulling right up behind the guy, thus taking the air off his rear spoiler to get him loose, then juke left and motor on by. Very good racing in 2017-18, and it promises to only get better as the fresh asphalt ages over the years.

Then came the infamous NA18D era, the "racertainment package" with neutered motors and excessive downforce and drag. TMS was not designed for this. The bad racing was the fault of the rules package and the new, misguided Nascar/SMI philosophy of WFO flat-foot racing, not the fault of TMS. If this is the style of racing you love, you probably like the Atlanta reconfiguration. I'm not saying that's right or wrong. I'm just saying it's not my thing.

As for TMS with the current car, we'll have to wait until Sunday to know. I *expect* the combination of medium horsepower and very high drag will produce dull racing with very little braking at corner entry and not much acceleration off corner exit. The Next Gen aero drag just saps horsepower, and with only 670 ponies, that's just not enough IMO. I had the same reaction at Darlington, but it's still Darlington so it's still great. TMS is no Darlington, so I predict the lack of power to be more of a problem.

The silver lining is that the new asphalt will wear and evolve if they'll just leave it alone for a few years. Look at Charlotte. CMS suffered years of lousy racing after their last repave, but this year the World 600 was a great race. I think that had more to do with the racing surface becoming rough and abrasive rather than the Next Gen car. Within a few years, Texas will do the same... if they just leave it alone.
 

Jorge De Guzman

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Most everyone here on R-F loves to dump on Texas Motor Speedway. I harbor no illusions about changing their minds, but personally I think it's a bum rap.

My #1 criteria for a race - any race, every race - is always the same... Is it a stern test of driving skill with results typically determined by meritocracy? If it is, then I'm entertained. If it's not, then it should be.

Before the 2017 repave, TMS was an awesome behemoth... very fast, very abrasive, tire-eating monster. Not quite a Darlington or Homestead, but definitely toward that end of the scale. People complained there wasn't enough side-by-side racing, which always seemed a bogus complaint to me. The objective is to pass that sucker, not to motor along beside him. (And now people are complaining there is *too much* side-by-side at Bristol... go figure.) It was always possible for a quicker car to pass a slower one, and the best drivers often worked their way from the back to the front. A skill-based meritocracy.

When the 2017 repave went down, the banking reconfiguration was designed for proper race cars... a full measure of horsepower, low drag, low downforce. As always, the smooth, high grip, fresh pavement was a setback to the quality of racing. And the high amount of side force remained problematic too. But it was still possible to pass a slower car. Better drivers in better cars often advanced from the back to the front. They did it by pulling right up behind the guy, thus taking the air off his rear spoiler to get him loose, then juke left and motor on by. Very good racing in 2017-18, and it promises to only get better as the fresh asphalt ages over the years.

Then came the infamous NA18D era, the "racertainment package" with neutered motors and excessive downforce and drag. TMS was not designed for this. The bad racing was the fault of the rules package and the new, misguided Nascar/SMI philosophy of WFO flat-foot racing, not the fault of TMS. If this is the style of racing you love, you probably like the Atlanta reconfiguration. I'm not saying that's right or wrong. I'm just saying it's not my thing.

As for TMS with the current car, we'll have to wait until Sunday to know. I *expect* the combination of medium horsepower and very high drag will produce dull racing with very little braking at corner entry and not much acceleration off corner exit. The Next Gen aero drag just saps horsepower, and with only 670 ponies, that's just not enough IMO. I had the same reaction at Darlington, but it's still Darlington so it's still great. TMS is no Darlington, so I predict the lack of power to be more of a problem.

The silver lining is that the new asphalt will wear and evolve if they'll just leave it alone for a few years. Look at Charlotte. CMS suffered years of lousy racing after their last repave, but this year the World 600 was a great race. I think that had more to do with the racing surface becoming rough and abrasive rather than the Next Gen car. Within a few years, Texas will do the
I dont want to come off as an @sshole fan and btw this was a well written piece. The current fans with the "Muh Entertainment!!" complaints are the reason why Atlanta got bastardized and why its rumored Texas is going to be as well. While not the most exciting track on the circuit, you know I dont even know what a quantifiable measure of excitement is, I find the art of racing exciting/entertaining and that to me is enough. I think this car is going to do well here, I am crossing my fingers. I find New Hampshire to be a 100 times more boring than Texas, I dont want all the 1.5 mile ovals be turned into what Atlanta became. and Atlanta might become Atlanta again with aging of the track and so forth. I think Texas was a recipient of angst most felt towards 1.5 mile ovals at the time, and it was rightly justified in some ways, I just am against Texas being bulldozed and going in the complete opposite direction.
 

2 Sweet

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The contrast between this year's ASR at Texas (likely the worst race I've seen since Indy 2008) and the World 600 at Charlotte just a week later (one of the best races I've seen in the 21st century) is a perfect illustration of why Texas is largely viewed as the worst track on the schedule. Is that a fair comparison? No, because one was an exhibition with a gimmicky format and the other was the longest Crown Jewel of the year (but but but races need to be shorter because attention spans :rolleyes:). But you had the exact same car a week later at a similar style of track, and the difference in the racing itself was astronomical.

I'll admit I'm probably too hard on Texas, as I'm sure there's some recency bias involved, but I've never really been a fan. It's hard for me to remember how much I enjoyed the races at Texas in 1999 or 2005 or 2011 or whatever, but there are no great races that stand out to me in the history of the track. What's the most popular moment in Texas history? Brad K and Gordon making contact after a late restart in '14?

It's all relative. I watch the Texas races because I still enjoy them, but compared to the other tracks across the country, I just don't find the racing there very appealing. I think the "lamest of the intermediates" reputation is justified for the most part.
 

acmerocket

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so my take on races,some that does the best job is going to win.its more fun when its one of my guys, but there is no
(bad?) races because someone is going to win and someone will be last.:dirtbike:
 

kkfan91

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The contrast between this year's ASR at Texas (likely the worst race I've seen since Indy 2008) and the World 600 at Charlotte just a week later (one of the best races I've seen in the 21st century) is a perfect illustration of why Texas is largely viewed as the worst track on the schedule. Is that a fair comparison? No, because one was an exhibition with a gimmicky format and the other was the longest Crown Jewel of the year (but but but races need to be shorter because attention spans :rolleyes:). But you had the exact same car a week later at a similar style of track, and the difference in the racing itself was astronomical.

I'll admit I'm probably too hard on Texas, as I'm sure there's some recency bias involved, but I've never really been a fan. It's hard for me to remember how much I enjoyed the races at Texas in 1999 or 2005 or 2011 or whatever, but there are no great races that stand out to me in the history of the track. What's the most popular moment in Texas history? Brad K and Gordon making contact after a late restart in '14?

It's all relative. I watch the Texas races because I still enjoy them, but compared to the other tracks across the country, I just don't find the racing there very appealing. I think the "lamest of the intermediates" reputation is justified for the most part.
I mean the most replayed moment has to be Michael McDowells crash...and that was in qualifying.
 

MRM

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Texas was better before the 2017 repave. The racing has been poor since then. Even the IndyCar races haven't been as good, but a lot of that has to do with them applying the PJ1. Like another poster said, the differences between this year's All-Star race and the Coke 600 was like night and day. No way to overlook that.
 

Formerjackman

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My take is I would be just fine if there were ZERO races on 1.5 milers, at least any of the quad oval variety. The 1.5 mile quad oval is the race track version of the "multipurpose" sports facilities that were all the rage in the late 60's and early 70's. They were made for baseball and football and a hundred other things and weren't actually good at ANY of them. Personally I would have put Atlanta back to it's original configuration, then bulldoze Texas, Kansas, Chicago, and Kentucky and come up with something original for each location. I'll give Charlotte a pass as it WAS original when it was built. I would be thrilled as can be if Darlington was the biggest oval Cup went to all year.
 

jaqua19

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Most everyone here on R-F loves to dump on Texas Motor Speedway. I harbor no illusions about changing their minds, but personally I think it's a bum rap.

My #1 criteria for a race - any race, every race - is always the same... Is it a stern test of driving skill with results typically determined by meritocracy? If it is, then I'm entertained. If it's not, then it should be.

Before the 2017 repave, TMS was an awesome behemoth... very fast, very abrasive, tire-eating monster. Not quite a Darlington or Homestead, but definitely toward that end of the scale. People complained there wasn't enough side-by-side racing, which always seemed a bogus complaint to me. The objective is to pass that sucker, not to motor along beside him. (And now people are complaining there is *too much* side-by-side at Bristol... go figure.) It was always possible for a quicker car to pass a slower one, and the best drivers often worked their way from the back to the front. A skill-based meritocracy.

When the 2017 repave went down, the banking reconfiguration was designed for proper race cars... a full measure of horsepower, low drag, low downforce. As always, the smooth, high grip, fresh pavement was a setback to the quality of racing. And the high amount of side force remained problematic too. But it was still possible to pass a slower car. Better drivers in better cars often advanced from the back to the front. They did it by pulling right up behind the guy, thus taking the air off his rear spoiler to get him loose, then juke left and motor on by. Very good racing in 2017-18, and it promises to only get better as the fresh asphalt ages over the years.

Then came the infamous NA18D era, the "racertainment package" with neutered motors and excessive downforce and drag. TMS was not designed for this. The bad racing was the fault of the rules package and the new, misguided Nascar/SMI philosophy of WFO flat-foot racing, not the fault of TMS. If this is the style of racing you love, you probably like the Atlanta reconfiguration. I'm not saying that's right or wrong. I'm just saying it's not my thing.

As for TMS with the current car, we'll have to wait until Sunday to know. I *expect* the combination of medium horsepower and very high drag will produce dull racing with very little braking at corner entry and not much acceleration off corner exit. The Next Gen aero drag just saps horsepower, and with only 670 ponies, that's just not enough IMO. I had the same reaction at Darlington, but it's still Darlington so it's still great. TMS is no Darlington, so I predict the lack of power to be more of a problem.

The silver lining is that the new asphalt will wear and evolve if they'll just leave it alone for a few years. Look at Charlotte. CMS suffered years of lousy racing after their last repave, but this year the World 600 was a great race. I think that had more to do with the racing surface becoming rough and abrasive rather than the Next Gen car. Within a few years, Texas will do the same... if they just leave it alone.
Good stuff per usual.

I think, like you, the hatred of TMS has been hyperbolized. I also think the broken product of the gen 6 has inadvertently caused people to displace frustration onto the speedway.

Now, I am WELL aware that Carl Edwards has won here 4 times. Jimmie Johnson has won here 7 times. So naturally, there's a bias.

But since when has this place garnered such a bad rep? I've always enjoyed it as a speedway race. From Burton vs Kenseth...twice, to Johnson vs BK in 2015, Johnson vs Kenseth in 07.

KB winning a good race there in 2016. I've always felt Texas was a solid solid intermediate.

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FLRacingFan

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The contrast between this year's ASR at Texas (likely the worst race I've seen since Indy 2008) and the World 600 at Charlotte just a week later (one of the best races I've seen in the 21st century) is a perfect illustration of why Texas is largely viewed as the worst track on the schedule. Is that a fair comparison? No, because one was an exhibition with a gimmicky format and the other was the longest Crown Jewel of the year (but but but races need to be shorter because attention spans :rolleyes:). But you had the exact same car a week later at a similar style of track, and the difference in the racing itself was astronomical.

I'll admit I'm probably too hard on Texas, as I'm sure there's some recency bias involved, but I've never really been a fan. It's hard for me to remember how much I enjoyed the races at Texas in 1999 or 2005 or 2011 or whatever, but there are no great races that stand out to me in the history of the track. What's the most popular moment in Texas history? Brad K and Gordon making contact after a late restart in '14?

It's all relative. I watch the Texas races because I still enjoy them, but compared to the other tracks across the country, I just don't find the racing there very appealing. I think the "lamest of the intermediates" reputation is justified for the most part.
I agree that the track sucks pretty badly at the moment. The contrast between Charlotte and Texas a mere week apart was certainly eye-opening.

I can think of several good battles from when it was legitimately a high-wear, high-speed intermediate though. Jimmie/Brad a couple of times - 2012 and 2015?/2016? Jimmie/Kenseth 2007. Kahne/Sadler photo finish in 2004.

As long as they race here only once a year until the surface improves I won’t be upset, I’d rather wait it out than reconfigure the whole thing into an Atlanta clone or something. Plus IndyCar needs a high-speed oval and they finally found a way to make their race interesting again earlier this year.
 

LewTheShoe

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The contrast between this year's ASR at Texas (likely the worst race I've seen since Indy 2008) and the World 600 at Charlotte just a week later (one of the best races I've seen in the 21st century) is a perfect illustration of why Texas is largely viewed as the worst track on the schedule...

I'll admit I'm probably too hard on Texas, as I'm sure there's some recency bias involved...
Like another poster said, the differences between this year's All-Star race and the Coke 600 was like night and day. No way to overlook that.
I'll second the notion that there is a lot of recency bias in these two posts. Go back to 2018 (the last year before the NA18D package was foisted upon us by Marcus Smith and Brian France) and before. Charlotte was consistently producing the worst racing on the schedule, and it wasn't even close. After the Charlotte repave (2006?), CMS was the most single groove, clean-air-is-king track of all. And it seemed to take *forever* for the asphalt to lose some grip, develop some bumps, and become abrasive to tires. The racing at Texas was much better. Thanks to @FLRacingFan for listing some of those highlights.

This story has repeated many times over. Kansas has given great racing of late, but go back half a dozen years... fresh asphalt... no bueno. Chicagoland is primo for racing now and the last handful of years... pity they can't pull a crowd in. The Las Vegas racing surface is getting better every year.

My bottom-line point is... it's wrong to compare fresh asphalt at Texas versus old asphalt at Charlotte.
 

aunty dive

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I wonder if concrete would be better on a 1.5 miler that needs to be re-surfaced?
 

Speedbowl14

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I think part of the reason for the hatred is the track represents a lot of where NASCAR started going wrong. Chasing markets that traditionally never had races. The first cookie cutter 1.5 mile track. Facilities that, while modern, were behemoth, tasteless, and lacking any character. Texas was one of the sport's biggest races outside of the "crown jewels" in the late 90s, but that perceived popularity of selling out 160k seats and double-decker suites led to the creation of Kansas, Kentucky, Chicago, the first Atlanta re-configuration, Nashville SS... tracks that have all had questionable racing periods over the years. It symbolizes the beginning of when NASCAR "lost its way".

Yes the track has put on some good shows but I remember a ton of snoozers in the COT/Gen6/high downforce eras.
 

bigspud

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all they have to do is use pit lane as the racing race area,
and move the pits to the quad-tri-oval.
super cheap fix.
 

Greg

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all they have to do is use pit lane as the racing race area,
and move the pits to the quad-tri-oval.
super cheap fix.
Moving the grandstands after the flip would not be cheap
 

Jorge De Guzman

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I’m strangely excited for this week’s race. I think they’re really going to get after it as this week is the only semblance of normalcy with Dega and The Roval looming.
 

Greg

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Moving the grandstands after the flip would not be cheap
Well maybe they are still there I don't know if they where ever "right sized".
 

Revman

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I don't bitch about tracks. They race. I watch. I am happy. Can't wait for this race. So crucial for MY Toyotas.
 

LewTheShoe

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I think part of the reason for the hatred is the track represents a lot of where NASCAR started going wrong. Chasing markets that traditionally never had races. The first cookie cutter 1.5 mile track. Facilities that, while modern, were behemoth, tasteless, and lacking any character. Texas was one of the sport's biggest races outside of the "crown jewels" in the late 90s, but that perceived popularity of selling out 160k seats and double-decker suites led to the creation of Kansas, Kentucky, Chicago, the first Atlanta re-configuration, Nashville SS... tracks that have all had questionable racing periods over the years. It symbolizes the beginning of when NASCAR "lost its way".

Interesting perspective, @Speedbowl14. So you're saying, the "deathbedder vote" dooms TMS to the garbage pile?

Make it 1995 again, now and forever!
 

Speedbowl14

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Interesting perspective, @Speedbowl14. So you're saying, the "deathbedder vote" dooms TMS to the garbage pile?

Make it 1995 again, now and forever!

I think the track highlights the issues I mentioned- boring facilities, a market that isn't diehard for NASCAR, racing that's typically average at best (save for this season with the new car).

But NASCAR/ISC/SMI saw that you could fit 160,000 people at Texas and Charlotte and not even half that number at Darlington, Martinsville, old Atlanta, etc...and jumped on the 1.5 miler trend without seeing the long term damage it would cause.
 

Efisher131

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I think TMS should rebrand themselves as the Dallas Motor Speedway (DMS). The track should be reconfigured to a D shaped oval and campaigned as "America's track at the Big D with the big beautiful Dallas Skyline"
You mean Fort Worth
 

Formerjackman

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I'm in the same boat, it will be a good race, the pavement is getting broken in, the cars work on the 1.5's

As bad as the All Star Race sucked, what reason do we think this race will be magically better? This track got off on the wrong foot with me from the very start with all the problems they had the first year and then jackass Gossage and his "shut up and drive" comments a little later, and it has never really gotten much better in my mind. There have been a few races over the years that weren't terrible, but never really good enough to make me say "Give me more of THAT". It's another track like Richmond and Martinsville that I have free lodging if I want to go, but unless I see a dramatic improvement in the product, I won't be going to any of them. I was all set to go to Martinsville, then the pandemic hit, and now the racing sucks there too.
 

StandOnIt

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As bad as the All Star Race sucked, what reason do we think this race will be magically better? This track got off on the wrong foot with me from the very start with all the problems they had the first year and then jackass Gossage and his "shut up and drive" comments a little later, and it has never really gotten much better in my mind. There have been a few races over the years that weren't terrible, but never really good enough to make me say "Give me more of THAT". It's another track like Richmond and Martinsville that I have free lodging if I want to go, but unless I see a dramatic improvement in the product, I won't be going to any of them. I was all set to go to Martinsville, then the pandemic hit, and now the racing sucks there too.
What else is new.
 

Formerjackman

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What else is new.
Low expectations are a self fulfilling prophecy. I expect more from people with almost unlimited resources. Not really the tracks fault, but I'll never forget that stupid ass Ferko lawsuit either. You want to sue somebody? Stand up like a man and do it, don't hide behind some anonymous ticket holder.
 

hmmm298

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I think TMS should rebrand themselves as the Dallas Motor Speedway (DMS). The track should be reconfigured to a D shaped oval and campaigned as "America's track at the Big D with the big beautiful Dallas Skyline"
"Even the D is bigger in Texas."
 

Charlie Spencer

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Question about TMS - admission tickets, what did they cost? Visiting in 23 from Australia. Thanks
G'day, mate! (Did I say that correctly?)

It looks like Texas is currently selling only season tickets that include all 2023 events, and that there are no tickets for only the NASCAR race at this time. That ought to encourage long-distance travelers :sarcasm:. They may begin selling single-event tickets after they think they've sold as many season tickets as they can, so keep an eye on the web site or subscribe to their e-mails.

 

wi_racefan

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I think TMS should rebrand themselves as the Dallas Motor Speedway (DMS). The track should be reconfigured to a D shaped oval and campaigned as "America's track at the Big D with the big beautiful Dallas Skyline"
And then they could reconfigure the garages in a "W" shape too.....oh wait we already have one of those that we no longer go to.

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