Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Does Atlanta Deserve The NASCAR Hall of Fame?

Former crew chief and Fox Sports announcer Larry McReynolds says no, and as much as I hate it, I think I agree with him. While the facilities are second to none, and the racing is the fastest (and often the closest) in Nextel Cup, there's one thing missing. Where are the fans? Why can't they sell out the two races each year?

The race just does not have the fan support. When you look at the size of metropolitan Atlanta, it's incredible that those grandstands can't be filled twice a year.

Don't get me wrong. There was a good crowd, but there were still a lot of empty seats. That confirms for me that Atlanta should not get the hall of fame. And that's nothing against Atlanta Motor Speedway, but for whatever reason, the people just do not jump on the bandwagon. I know that there were people are down there screaming, "We need the hall of fame! We want the hall of fame!" OK people, are you going to support the race weekends?

The people at Darlington jumped up and down for two years. "Don't take one of our races!" Then, get out there and support the race. If you want to benefit from the business that comes to Darlington twice a year, get off your butt, get out there and support this race. That's what will save the races. I don't know that less than 100 percent attendance was the whole deal in Darlington losing a race, but it certainly would have helped.

But as far as the Atlanta Motor Speedway is concerned, the track officials have created a great facility, and I hope that they don't touch that race track. Don't even paint a stripe across it. We've got great racing there. The speeds are fast, and they've got everything that they could possibly want there. It's a very fan-friendly track, but I just don't understand why both races don't sell out. It ought to be like Bristol. Fans ought to be waiting in line to buy tickets.
How can you disagree? Why should NASCAR choose to locate their shrine in an area that doesn't sell out it's races each year? Especially when those races tend to be some of the most exciting races of the entire season.