The company that owns and operates Texas Motor Speedway has responded to some outspoken critics after the annual NASCAR All-Star Race. Speedway Motorsports President Marcus Smith has said that some people “like to complain more than anything.”
Smith made the comments during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. He faced questions about the future of the annual All-Star Race and potentially moving the race to other locations. There were some outspoken critics after Ryan Blaney captured the All-Star Race win on May 23, many of which called for the race to move to North Wilkesboro Speedway or any track other than Texas Motor Speedway.
“I don’t know. We had it in Charlotte for a number of years, and did it in Bristol in 2020 when we couldn’t have it in North Carolina,” Smith said about potentially moving the race around. “Then, we moved it to Texas for the last couple of years. This event, we had more people buying tickets than we did last year. We had increases in tickets and camping. It was a lot of fun for a lot of people in the southwest region of the United States.
“We’re always looking to make it bigger and better. When we had it in Charlotte, we had some detractors who would always say, ‘Why is in it Charlotte’ or ‘It’s just a warm-up event.’ We move it and people say, ‘Let’s put it back in Charlotte.’ One thing I’ve found is nobody like change and nobody likes anything to stay the same. It’s one of those things that you can’t make everyone happy.”
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There Are Differences Between Fan Experiences & Racing Quality
Smith took time during the appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to talk about how the track had taken steps to make the fan experience bigger and better. He said that SMI has a huge team that “works really hard to make everybody happy” and that they take their job seriously.
Smith specifically mentioned the things that Texas Motor Speedway did to create a memorable experience for the fans in attendance. There was a human cannonball, a Blake Shelton concert, and a multitude of Trackside Live segments with drivers, a championship boxer, an NFL Hall of Famer, an NHL player, and a Medal of Honor Recipient.
There is no denying that the fans had fun at the track, but that does not mean that the race itself was enjoyable. The product on the track is an entirely different subject matter than the pre-race concerts or interviews with high-profile figures.
The race itself featured a lack of battles for first place. Multiple drivers said that it was impossible to make passes, which a total of three lead changes proved to be true. Ryan Blaney, in particular, had a nearly three-second lead prior to the controversial caution that forced an overtime restart.
Every week, The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck runs a poll asking if the most recent race was good. The 2022 All-Star Race had only 10.4% of positive responses and 89.6% of negative responses. This is a major change from the last intermediate track on the schedule, Kansas, which had a 90.1% approval. The AdventHealth 400 was also the third race at an intermediate track in 2022 that topped 90% approval.
Drivers Called for Changes Ahead of the All-Star Race
The viewers were not the only ones making comments about Texas Motor Speedway and its ability to host an All-Star Race. The drivers also made strong comments of their own during a trip to Kansas Speedway.
Denny Hamlin, Chase Briscoe, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, and Austin Dillon all made comments about the All-Star Race before making the trip to Texas Motor Speedway. They all expressed a desire to see the race move around and head to different markets. Dillon, who has a Cup Series win at Texas, also noted that the track hasn’t produced the best racing.
“I would like to see it move, in general,” Hamlin said during his media availability at Kansas Speedway. “I felt the year we did it in Bristol brought some electricity, brought some interest. It was different from the norm, but there’s contracts, right? SMI owns the date, and they can take it to whatever track they would like to see it.”
Kyle Larson also made a spicy comment of his own after hitting the wall and exiting the infield care center. The driver of the No. 5 told MRN that he would try to win next year, “hopefully, somewhere else besides Texas.”