Dirt Track Racing Series Should Never Adopt a NASCAR-Style Playoff System

Over the past two weeks, a few major American motorsport forms reached a pivotal spot in their 2019 championship race. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series started their annual 10-race Playoffs, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, consisting of an elimination-style, four-round fight, with sixteen drivers battling it out, with help from playoff points awarded for Regular Season performance, to be part of the Championship 4 in Homestead-Miami Speedway, with a chance to win the title. The NTT IndyCar Series wrapped up their respective championship fight, last night, at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with four drivers mathematically alive to capture the famed Astor Cup trophy after a 16-race season, up to that point, consisting of double-points races at the Indianapolis 500 and during their title finale.


On the Dirt Track Racing side-of-things, multiple national touring series are reaching the home-stretch of their championship fights. The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, World of Outlaw Morton Buildings Late Model Series and a few USAC National Touring division title races seem to be all-but decided, with notable drivers like Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard, CJ Leary, and Tyler Courtney enjoying sizable point leads, with just a handful of events left on their schedules. The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars Series and USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series, on the other hand, have tight battles that are each more than likely going to go down to the final few races of the 2019 season. 

Currently, Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz are battling night-in and night-out for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car championship title, something the series has not seen in a number of years, with Schatz dominating the form of dirt track racing for the better part of the last fifteen years, taking home ten championship trophies. Going into the final weekend of December, Donny holds a 22-point lead over Brad, with only fourteen races left, and 2019 Knoxville Nationals winner, David Gravel, sits within striking distance, only 122-markers out of the top spot.

Dirt Track Racing's past-time, the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series has given fans an amazing championship fight of its own in 2019, with Kody Swanson and Justin Grant battling all-year-long for the top spot. With the division only running twelve races, per season, spread across various asphalt and pavement facilities, Swanson has arguably had the more impressive year of the two, driving to victory-lane on five different occasions. Grant has given Kody and his Klatt Enterprises team a run-for-their-money, simply because of his consistency and ability to put together solid results, each time the big-cars take to the track. Going into their championship finale, Eldora Speedway Four-Crown Nationals, this coming weekend, Swanson holds a 64-point lead and with Grant's ability to always be in the right position, one slip-up by Kody could give us yet another very close title battle.


I say all of that, to say this; throughout the late months of every dirt track racing season, with some championships all-but decided, people start to throw around the idea of a possible playoff system for the top national touring series, across America, similar to NASCAR. Though this has been an overwhelming success for NASCAR and its three top levels, it took over a decade to catch on, with ratings and attendance finally rebounding in 2019, after a near fifteen-year continuous drop, the dirt fan-base tends to lean towards tradition and a simple way of doing things. If a driver performs the best all season, they deserve whatever accomplishments, accolades, and awards they receive, no matter if that causes a rather boring end of the year fight for the title. For that reason, and the fact that every other aspect of dirt track racing has stayed near-and-dear to its roots, with a few minor changes to big events, new races and needed safety improvements, dirt track racing does not need to follow the playoff trend and continuing their tradition of crowing a champion on points over the course of a full-season, only, will always resonate with their fan base, drivers and teams.


The old saying of ", if it's broke don't fix it," comes into play in this case and with the popularity of dirt track racing on the rise, changing a fundamental part of the sport now may end up being devastating. We don't need this change, and frankly never will, so please leave it alone.


(DirtonDirt Photo)

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