OPINION: Quaker State 400 Satisfies ‘Back in the Day’ Fans


For the “old-school” fan in NASCAR, Kentucky Speedway offered what they wanted: the “good ole days.”


The older fan in NASCAR tends to focus on how “terrible” the racing is today and how back in the day during the era of Richard Petty and Bobby Allison was better than the on-track product NASCAR produces today.


The Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway mixed in the new and old age of NASCAR. The race at Kentucky Speedway was dominated by Martin Truex, Jr. and Kyle Busch, who combined led all but 10 laps during the race. 


Taking away the fact that this was a repave, this race reminded fans today of what NASCAR’s “golden” era provided, single file racing and barely any passes for the lead. 


NASCAR and Kentucky Speedway officials did their best effort by running the tire dragon in the middle and lower grooves before and during the race weekend, but that made no difference whatsoever in the overall quality of the event.


Across the board, everyone hates repaves on racetracks. However, new repaved lives matter. You have to applaud every plausible effort NASCAR and Kentucky Speedway did to make the racing here exciting, but the race did not provide that excitement. 


Despite being a new repave, NASCAR did not bring a new aero package to “test” at Kentucky Speedway. Did that change the potential of the race? Absolutely. 


Although there were bursts of excitement on the restarts, Kentucky Speedway provided single-groove racing. 


“I mean the track is to me, it’s just really lane sensitive, so you have to be right on the bottom it is pretty much the quickest way.  So, the restarts are all you’ve got.  I mean it’s Kentucky.  It was like this last year if I remember,” said Kasey Kahne. 


Did stage racing save the Quaker State 400 from absolute disaster? 


“Stage racing and all these restarts, the fact that it is so hard to pass there is just an environment that is created with this style of racing.  You’ve got to get everything you can on a restart and everybody is at ten tenths.  The old days of pointing someone by or maybe letting somebody go until your tires came in are long gone,” said Jimmie Johnson. 


What can be done to save racing on repaves? Brad Keselowski believes that something can be done with the cars. “It is time for the sport to design a new car that is worthy of where this sport deserves to be and the show it deserves to put on for its fans,” said Keselowski. 


Martin Truex, Jr. responded to Keselowski’s comments: “He’s on the driver’s council.  He’s a big part of the lower downforce and he’s a big part of the direction everybody is going.  So yeah, he was probably just mad because he got wrecked.”


NASCAR is working day in and day out to making the competition on the track better. Where will this lead us? Only time will tell! 


For the old school fan, this race should satisfy how great the racing was “back in the day” with follow the leader racing. If it wasn’t for the free pass and wave around, we could have saw only a handful of the cars on the lead lap instead of nine.


However, the racing we saw tonight at Kentucky Speedway, despite it being a repave, is not how the sport will attract the younger fan base, a base that NASCAR so desperately needs for it to be around in the future. It is time for the older fans to sit back and enjoy the racing we currently have.


Caleb Whisler
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