NASCAR drivers seem to be ardent supporters of short track races, and the response from both drivers and fans after Sunday’s race at Martinsville was overwhelmingly positive.
The race had a dramatic finish, multiple driver feuds, and most of it even occurred under the lights. Clint Bowyer finished third — his best finish since August when he finished fifth at Watkins Glen — and he said Sunday’s race was “a breath of fresh air” for the sport and the fans.
“Martinsville is short track racing; you know what I mean? This is what put this sport on the map is racing like that, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen that,” Bowyer said via Motorsport.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to get back to a short track where it can breed some of that and put on a show for the fans. I know I was entertained.”
The headliner from the race was the feud between Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin. There was also a heated exchange between Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney.
Kyle Busch won the race and clinched a spot in the final four at Homestead, but his victory didn’t receive as much attention as it would have under normal circumstance because the rest of the race was so hectic.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. praised the race and how wild the finish was, and he reiterated Bowyer’s point that there needs to be more short track races — particularly in the playoffs.
Ratings for the race were up, and fans and viewers seemed more engaged than they had been in several other playoffs races. It was a very positive race for NASCAR, and it might lead NASCAR officials to incorporate another short track into the playoff rotation in the future.