Racing Icon Richard Petty Says Dirt Racing Is ‘Unprofessional’ Leading Up To Bristol Race
If you haven’t heard, the NASCAR Cup Series is going back to dirt at Bristol. The race was postponed until today (3/29) due to weather and is now scheduled to begin at 4:18 p.m ET Monday afternoon.
This is a big deal because it hasn’t happened since 1970 back when it was called Grand National. Racing legend Richard Petty won the last dirt oval race in NASCAR’s top-flight class at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. Ironically, Petty has some thoughts on NASCAR being back in the dirt.
After bringing in thousands of pounds of dirt to Bristol Motor Speedway transforming the asphalt track, it’s sure to be a race to watch. However, when the plans were announced last fall Petty told Autoweek:
“I have to be careful here because there’s some politics involved, and I don’t want to annihilate NASCAR on this. I guess I’m looking at it from an old-time deal because we spent years and years and years trying to become a professional sport. Years and years to get away from that stigma. But dirt-track racing is not professional, so we’re going backward. It would be like taking a professional football team and going back to play at a high school field.”
Some people on social media have agreed with him while some think he’s wrong. According to Jalopnik he further went on to say:
“I think it’ll be exciting at Bristol that day. It might be another gimmick. It might be what NASCAR needs to keep our base growing. But it won’t be anything like the dirt track we had at Raleigh. In that one, there were big holes in the track and it was rough and you had to drive around those holes. The dirt tracks today turn into asphalt tracks; once you race on ‘em a while they just turn into slick asphalt tracks. But cars will be going sideways in the corners, and that’s what people want to see.”
So it could be that he’s criticizing the way dirt racing used to be (back when he was on the track) rather than today’s event specifically. Check out the story on turning Bristol to dirt and let us know – will you be watching?