For the seventh consecutive year, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series headed to Rossburg, Ohio to the famed Eldora Speedway. It’s the one race a year that any of NASCAR’s three national touring series runs on dirt and it has quickly become a “crown jewel” of the NGOTS season.
Eldora has been a must-watch for most NASCAR fans. The novelty of racing on dirt has worn off but at the excitement of a short track race on a weeknight when not much else is on makes it a must-watch.
Thursday night’s race demonstrated why this race has lost its luster. Each year there’s less fanfare around the event and this year was no different. It’s not because the racing is bad, it’s because FOX is a terrible TV partner and NASCAR continually shoots themselves in the foot.
We’ll start with FOX. In a race that is 150 laps, they go to commercial far too often. Thursday night with 18 laps to go in the race where lap times are 20 seconds things click by pretty quickly. Combine that with FOX’s refusal to zoom out and you have a bad broadcast. Just like we’ve said since NBC took over last month FOX isn’t doing anything innovated. On top of that that continue to only watch the leaders while there are fantastic battles happening further back in the field.
When you have all of those production flaws joined by Adam Alexander, Phil Parsons, and fake Michael Waltrip in the booth you have a fairly unwatchable broadcast for a race that they dub a “crown jewel” for the truck series.
NASCAR as a governing has to figure things out in every series. Multiple times this season in the Cup Series race control has had to add extra laps under caution to figure out the running order. The same thing happened MULTIPLE times Thursday night to the point you could hear the fans in attendance booing over the noise of the trucks. Thursday night saw 45% of the race run under caution.
The final restart should have been with 4 laps to go but instead, it didn’t happen until 2 to go. Why? Somehow NASCAR missed and entire axel laying in the middle of the racetrack. Just missed it.
Even the start time might be a little too late. A 9 p.m. start time on the east coast ensures it won’t end until 11 p.m. and that stinks for most people. We all complain when the National Championship doesn’t start until 9 p.m. but this is ok? Just start it at 8 or 8:30 and call it a day. This is a very old man complaint, we’re aware.
Eldora Is Still Fun
No matter what Eldora is still fun and NASCAR should keep going back there. Not because races on dirt are exceptional, they’re generally not when it comes to the leader. Thursday night had 2 leaders and 1 lead change. The racing in the midfield is phenomenal though and these races would be regarded as better if the broadcast showed them.
Keep the dirt races at 1 and keep it a truck series only event.
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