The future of Texas Motor Speedway has been a topic of conversation in recent weeks. Some NASCAR Cup Series drivers want a basic reconfiguration. Kyle Larson would like to see some more drastic changes.
“I would like them to demolish this place first and then start over from scratch,” Larson told media members at Texas Motor Speedway, per Chevrolet. “For one, they did a very poor job with the reconfiguration, the initial reconfiguration. I would like to see them change it from a 1.5-mile [track] to something shorter. I don’t know if that means bringing the backstretch in or whatever.
“If I could build a track, it would probably be a three-quarter mile Bristol, basically; pavement, progressive banking, all of that. But I don’t know if that’s even possible here. I’m not sure what they have in mind, but anything would be better than what they did.”
There have not been any announcements from Speedway Motorsports about a potential reconfiguration or repave. However, there are enough members of the industry talking about some upcoming moves that it’s worth monitoring.
Opinions Are Split Regarding More Superspeedways
Larson’s comments provided a significantly different perspective than those of Corey LaJoie. The Spire Motorsports driver said on his “Stacking Pennies” podcast that he would like to see Texas Motor Speedway have steeper banking than Atlanta Motor Speedway and multiple grooves so the drivers can move around.
The comparison to NASCAR’s latest superspeedway makes sense considering that Spire Motorsports and LaJoie have turned heads during some of these plate races. All of LaJoie’s five top-10 finishes have been at superspeedways, and he turned in his first career fifth-place finish during the spring race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. LaJoie was then in a position to potentially win during the return to Atlanta before Chase Elliott blocked him into the wall and sparked a wreck.
“I think if you leave it up to the drivers, then you would have what Kyle said.. a short track of some sort,” Alex Bowman added during a press conference at TMS. “If you leave it up to the fans, I have heard that some people want another Atlanta. I don’t think any of the drivers really want another Atlanta, but we are not here for us. We are here for the fans.
“It will be interesting to see if anything does happen. There are a lot of rumors flying around. The race track that we have now has not produced what we want. So, there are a lot of smart people working on it and thinking about how to make it better. Got to do something.”
“Do we need more superspeedways?” Logano asked during his own availability. “Is that the type of racing fans want to see? Because when you look at the way that people have finished up front in these superspeedways lately, [they] are the ones that are riding around in the back.
“Do you believe that you should be rewarded for not working? Because that’s what they’re doing. They’re riding around in the back not working, not going up there to put a good race on. They’re riding around in the back and capitalizing on other people’s misfortune for racing up front trying to win. I don’t think it’s right. That’s not racing. I can’t get behind that.”
The First True Next Gen Race at TMS Will Happen First
There is no clear answer as to whether Speedway Motorsports will reconfigure Texas Motor Speedway. The focus right now remains on the first true Next Gen Cup Series race at the 1.5-mile track. Decisions will likely be made public after the season.
The Cup Series drivers have taken on Texas Motor Speedway once in the 2022 season, but they did so during the All-Star Race. They had to deal with four stages of racing in which the winners of the first two secured spots on the front row for the final dash to the checkered flag.
The playoff race on September 25 will play out considerably differently. The drivers will take part in the standard, three-stage format where a stage win includes an important playoff point. The stakes will also be higher considering that the drivers are battling for a spot in the Round of Eight instead of a bonus amount of money, which will likely change how they race each other.