Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Southern 500: What's in a Name?

NASCAR appears poised to announce that the Mother's Day race at Darlington Raceway as the 2009 season will mark the 60th anniversary of the opening of NASCAR's oldest super speedway.

While the honorific name is appropriate, what's not appropriate is the date realizing that the Labor Day classic has been sacrificed for an event at the other end of the continent to the Auto Club Speedway located east of Los Angeles, California. Since the California track expanded to two dates, the attendance has been miserable as the heat at the Fontana track can be absolute torture on the weekend USC and UCLA spring into College Football action. For marketing reasons and the big TV dollar, it might be too much to hope for, but both tracks are International Speedway Corporation (ISC) holdings, the France family operated racetrack ownership conglomerate, why not cut the losses in LA LA land and bring that date back to Dixie? For all the investment put into repaving and renovating Darlington, it's ready for more action!

In today's world of the increasing commercialization and Wall Street focus of NASCAR, providing an appropriate name for the sole Darlington event is a pleasing token, a fitting salute to the sport's history. The continued failure of California to catch fire reamains an embarassment to the France family's masterplan and a thorn in the side of the loyal fans from the southeast who have been with the sport since its dirt track days.
Gentlemen, start your engines, drive fast, turn left, and INFLATE YOUR TIRES.

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