In my previous post I proposed holding the Winter Classic at Bristol Motor Speedway. Now I am going to take that same idea and apply it backwards.
The Budweiser Shootout was fun when it was an invitational for last year?s pole winners. Now it is an invitational for whoever NASCAR thinks can make a marketable race. To make matters worse, it is a paid (not just free, it pays money) test for NASCAR?s chosen few before the season?s biggest race. It is safe to assume that the Shootout itself will not be cancelled any time soon, but we could change the location.
I propose the Budweiser Shootout be relocated to a temporary dirt track constructed at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. I want to use the Citrus Bowl because it is only an hour?s drive from Daytona International Speedway (at least according to Mapquest), it can seat 70,000 (which the Shootout appears to draw now), and it would easy to build a race track on the field. It?s no great undertaking to cover a football field with dirt; it happens for motocross and monster truck races all the time. The walls around the stadium?s field appear taller than modern Cup cars so only a few portions will need to be modified for safety.
The track itself would probably tie Islip Speedway as (unofficially) the shortest track to host a Sprint Cup Series race at 0.2 miles (320 meters). The radius of each turn would be about that of the hairpin, Turn 11 at Infineon raceway. The corners could have (at most) six degrees of banking.
The race itself would need to be run in heats. Say 33 cars are invited, then random draw would set the starting grids for three 15-lap heat races with the top 3 in each heat advancing to the A-main and fourth through seventh advancing to the B-main. The 30-lap B-main would send its top three finishers to the 50-lap A-main. Laps behind the pace car do not count, and in the event of a yellow flag, scoring reverts to the previous green flag lap. Repairs would be allowed during a red flag. Grids for the mains would be set by aggregate time finishes in the earlier races.
I had considered a few other venues for this. Most existing dirt tracks do not have the seating capacity to handle a Sprint Cup race so something temporary is necessary. The location has to be close to Daytona. The location had to be easy to cover with dirt. I considered using Daytona?s road course between the Rodriguez hairpin and the motorcycle chicane; however, that track would be bigger than Bristol?s temporary oval (which was discontinued due to damage done to local roads by so many truckloads of dirt, run in the opposite direction of the lights around it, would require a round-the-clock operation to build the track as soon as the 24-hour race ends, and be pretty far away from the seats.
The only real change the cars would need is that Goodyear would have to produce dirt track tires (which they already know how to do). Old rain tires would not work as dirt and mud tires derive grip from square lugs.
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