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NASCAR president Steve Phelps: We need to better connect with short track racing

NASCAR

New NASCAR president Steve Phelps has a message for fans of grassroots racing who believe the sanctioning body doesn’t care about them anymore.

We hear you.

During a media roundtable at NASCAR headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, Phelps was asked about the perception that the league is no longer invested in those who spend most of their time at short tracks or on dirt.

“I totally agree that this is something we need to do better,” Phelps said. “This is part of the event promotion we’re looking to do with some of our race tracks. If you look at the (K&N Pro Series West) dirt event at Las Vegas, that was very successful in my opinion.

“I’ve spoken to Kevin Harvick, who is a champion for short track racing. We need to reach out to short tracks. We need to reach out to World of Outlaws. We need to help each other. If someone is a fan of racing, we believe they can be a fan of our racing. At the same time, we may be the pinnacle of racing from a popularity standpoint, but we can learn from them, they can learn from us, and we can promote each other in a far better way.”

KEVIN HARVICK: Helping short track racing is our responsibility

Over the past two months, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series contender Kyle Larson has went from candidly sharing his love for dirt sprint cars to placing a gag order on himself over what he claimed was NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing officials suggesting he stop because it made his current profession look bad.

Phelps says that is the last thing he wants his star drivers to do.

“So, this notion of NASCAR trying to muzzle Kyle Larson and his love of racing couldn’t be further from the truth,” Phelps said. “We want Kyle Larson to talk about NASCAR racing and dirt racing and things that are his passion. We think he can bring his fan base from other forms of racing that he’s doing to us. And we can take our fans and bring them down to that racing as well, so we all get stronger by doing something.”

NASCAR has a weekly and regional racing division, previously known as Home Tracks, that oversees the Whelen All-American Series national championship, K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour, Whelen EURO, PEAK Mexico and the Pinty’s Series in Canada.

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Craig

    September 26, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Take a good look at what just happened at NEW Hampshire Motor Speedway with the running of the WMT. They said it could not be done. Modifieds running 250 laps at the 1 mile track. It was a Spectacular event. The best race I’ve seen in a lot of years. Hell of a crowd. Better than the old ROC events held at Pocono Speedway 31 lead changes at the line. Only 5 cautions in the event. Everybody standing the last 10 laps.
    What a beautiful event. NHMS, GM David McGrath and all of the staff at NHMS showed everyone how to do a great event with the Whelen Modified Tour anchoring the event.

  2. Chsrlie

    September 26, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Lift some of your stupid rules and let these guys win races by winning races on the track not by loosing them because a tire got more than an arms length away from a crew member….
    You folks have been killing the big league for the past 10 years.
    You don’t have Dale Sr. or Jr. to fill the stands anymore so you had better figure it out and you better do it fast before more tracks get turned into shopping malls….

  3. Scott Bland

    September 26, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    They need to put the race on regular television not everyone has cable or satellite so we can watch the races

  4. Bill

    September 26, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    I’m a Dirt track driver/owner and I have a fabrication business! I’ve lived in the racing world my entire life! I do believe that dirt track racing is way more exciting and entertaining than the nascar races!
    Back when Earnhardt/Waltrip/Petty/Pierson/Yarborough/Baker/Allison’s and so many more great drivers! The cars would slide around tires would drop off faster they raced with the fire in their belly! Today the driver is plastic, they have to look act like they are a puppet! The dirt track guys don’t live extravagant life styles! Yes some have money, but they are trying to win! They have the drive the determination the fuel for that fire in the belly to do whatever it takes to win!
    Hate to put nascar down, but I have seen some of the best racing on 1/4 and 1/2 mile local tracks! And the fire to win for as little as $300!
    The truck racing at Eldora is slow as can be but the entertainment is priceless! Let’s get some nascar racing on a few more Dirt tracks I really think that could help nascar gain weight! BW

  5. Daniel davis

    September 26, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    Hey guys and gals I’m a racer from the south and I love racing more than anything and I really think nascar is a joke for large businesses to spend money it’s way to political correct it’s not let’s go to the races and have fun the last race I went to in Talladega I was in my seat watching the race and was about to light a cigarette when I was stopped really ppl you can throw beer all over me but I can’t smoke not only that your so called grassroots racing is for ppl with money and to me that’s not grassroots racing that guy that works all week to sport his family and to race on Saturday night there not in your grasp roots racing 75 % of your drivers if they was out at a small race would not even take the time to talk to a grass roots driver there are a few like the Burton’s and Elliotts Matt and his son Ross but there the petty’s you know these guy are nascar and are very nice ppl I have not ever seen them hide at a local track that I was at like most of the drives would also why not open some of our southern tracks back up or even reach out to all local tracks and just ask how can we make this better back when my dad started out racing you could get a nascar license and get point in a national standings that is not true to day I also remember one time we was race a local show and I allway would help someone at the track in big races because everyone didnt come with a big crew that night I was speaking to a man I think I may have been 12 we had tickets to a sold out Talladega race but there was 5 of us we had 2 tickets in one spot and 3 another I told this man I was excited on going to my first big race I also told him about the ticket issue so he writes this note on a napkin gives it to my mom tells her to give it to the woman at the ticket both well that could be anyone my dad said but it wasnt just anyone it was mr France him self so with that being said how many of you that are presidents and board sitters come to the events and ask fan what can we do to make it better I dont think any of you do but if you just mingle with the ppl write your checks yes I know big sponsors help put the show on but if there is no fans then you want need sponsors and if we as a racing community dont get more young people involved theres not going to be stock car racing at all so if you really want to make it great again do worry about what the out sider that’s not going to be a race fan anyway and probably never even come or watch is going to say because that is what is going to keep driving this in the ground racing started in the south so make it a southern sport again

  6. Dd

    September 26, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Ok

  7. Mike

    September 27, 2018 at 9:15 am

    I was a successful track owner/promoter in Florida. I made numerous attempts to reach out to NASCAR. They didn’t want to be bothered.
    Then they approached me one day about having their rig come to one of my big events before the Homestead race. They wanted to hand out free tickets, NASCAR gear and also have an announcer in the tower to talk about the Homestead race.
    I said, sure, I’d like to have my announcer whose the best in the state come to the Homestead race and promote my upcoming Winternational events.
    Sounded fair to me.
    They wanted no part of it. Just what was good for them.

  8. Jim Hart

    September 27, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I agree. Put it on regular tv. Many many fans dont have cable or satellite . Also, drivers need to reconnect with fans. You could learn a lot from how fan friendly richard petty is. Just follow him around.

  9. Dwayne Weatherford

    September 28, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Meet me at Richmond speedway October 20th if you would like to see racing the way it should be.

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