Without a doubt the best track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit is Martinsville Speedway. From the moment I went to the track the first time I thought it was the best facility on the planet.
You pull into people’s back yard to park to get to the track. Sure you may pay ten dollars to park but you can swallow that ten dollars going to a local person rather than multi-million dollar companies who sometimes charge you 40 dollars to park at other tracks on the circuit.
Then you walk past the RV’s and campers of the weekend and smell the barbeque grills going strong, while you come upon a small little gem of a racetrack. Before you get to the track you have to stop and get one of the best hotdogs in the country. Once you get your hotdog you go to your seat, where there is not a bad one in the house. You can see any part of the racetrack from anywhere you sit and while single car runs may not be all that appetizing, your hotdog will fit the bill until you see the action you’ve been waiting for.
When the green flag drops there is one lane, the bottom. Cars have to lean on each other and beat and bang each other through the corners and you start to think back to when the track opened in 1949 and wonder if that’s how it was when it opened. Leaning on one another like the cars as they whiz by trying to navigate the tough little racetrack. And that’s just the first lap.
Throughout the race you’ll see tire marks mounting as aerodynamics that matter at the other 22 racetracks on the circuit just doesn’t seem to matter at Martinsville. It just matters what kind of car you have and how bad you’re willing to get there. The beating and banging at the facility will lead to some flared tempers as a few drivers may not be happy about how things turned out throughout the day. Fans will roar and while you’re walking out of the track you may see a driver or two who need to get back to their motor coaches which sit on the outside of the track. On the back of a golf cart, Clint Bowyer may wave to you as he passes and you walk back to your car and wonder man there isn’t a track on the circuit that can match this. That would be as true as the racing you just watched for 500 laps.
Martinsville is the last pure racetrack on the circuit and if NASCAR had more tracks like Martinsville, they wouldn’t be going off of national television in a few years.
If I was told that I could go to one race for free at any track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule it would be Bristol Motor Speedway. The .533 mile track known has the World’s Fastest Half-Mile is nestled in the very Northeast part of Tennessee.
I have never been to Bristol in person so I cannot speak from at track experience that this is the best track on the circuit. But the football stadium-like seating and look make Bristol an exciting looking place to watch a race from for sure. When Bristol’s turn comes around twice a season on the schedule business picks up whether you are at the track or watching on television. The show will not usually disappoint.
The racing has changed some with the introduction of the progressive banking at the track. No longer is Bristol a one groove track where you need to root and gouge your way to the front on the bottom. That type of racing was terrific but the new style is still very exciting as well.
Cars can race in multiple grooves all over the place and over the past few seasons there have been many three-wide moments at the short track. The action occurs so fast around the track that an accident could end up turning into a huge melee especially when you throw in the extreme banking which makes the path of crashed cars tough to know where they will end up. There are also usually hot tempers at the end of the race which always makes for added excitement.
To date there have been 105 Sprint Cup Series races held at what is Bristol Motor Speedway. That dates all the way back to 1961.
NASCAR’s short tracks are the best and I wish there were more. Martinsville Speedway and Richmond International Raceway are great tracks but NASCAR’s Coliseum as Bristol is known as tops my list.