The Good Bad & Ugly Of The NASCAR Weekend: Martinsville Madness

Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS / RPW – MARTINSVILLE, VA – Clint Bowyer had to wait one extra day to claim his first win in 190 races.

The whole Martinsville weekend was marred by a snowstorm which postponed both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events until Monday.

Bowyer’s dominant performance in the 500 lap event was nothing short of unexpected. How did NASCAR’s version of the Snowball Derby fair? Well let’s look at the Good the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good.

The No. 14 has looked stronger this year than last.  However, no one really expected Bowyer and Co. to perform as well as they have in 2018…even with the streak of three wins in-a-row his teammate Kevin Harvick laid down just a few short weeks ago.

Bowyer’s resurgence as a contender week in and week out for victories is a great thing for the sport. With his goofball humor and unique ability to be himself on camera more than most, Bowyer is becoming a serious alternative to the youth movement in the sport as teammates Harvick and Kurt Busch have.

He now has a win and a playoff spot to back it up.

The blue collar racer from Emporia, KS isn’t afraid to make a joke at his own or someone else’s expense and with questions still unanswered as to the future of the sport’s fan base, Bowyer’s down-to-earth attitude is a real plus for the Cup garage to have.

The Bad.

What turned out to be a solid double header of racing from the paperclip short track in Virginia, was only let down by the lack of fans in the stands. Through no fault of anyone but Mother Nature, many fans were forced to simply pack up and go home when word came Sunday that NASCAR would be forced to postpone both races to Monday.

The snowfall which inundated the Martinsville area was just too much for NASCAR to overcome as camping areas became mud pits with the wet flakes accumulating on the soft ground.

There was a light smattering of fans around the entire speedway but the fact the first grandfather clock of 2018 was handed out in front of such a small crowd, which were given the opportunity to attend both races as long as they had a ticket to one of the two events, is a real shame. Especially when the short tracks are one of the most exciting forms of racing the NASCAR calendar has to offer.

The Ugly.

Monday’s double header event was something that I never knew I wouldn’t want. 750 laps later, I was sure I didn’t want it.

The overall idea of double header races works very well for the support classes. Shorter events doubled up such as a 200 mile Truck Series race followed by a 250 mile XFINITY Series event makes sense. The overall time with a small down time between events works out to roughly the same time slot as a Cup Series event.

With the Cup Series long-distance events, however, the prospect of a double header shouldn’t really be a consideration any time soon. Even for this long-time die-hard fan, the final long segment of Monday’s Cup Race couldn’t end quick enough. What started at roughly 11:00am finally finished around 5pm Eastern time.

Though necessary to get the events complete due to the unusual circumstances, it’s pretty obvious that as NASCAR looks at ways to improve the overall fan experience in the future, a double header involving the Cup Series should probably be pretty far down on the list of options.