'Unsafe At Any Speed'
Early Spring 1997

Ralph Nader called the Corvair 'unsafe at any speed.' To say that the Texas Motor Speedway was unsafe might be a bit of a stretch but it's certainly fair. The series went to the new Texas Motor Speedway on April 6th. The track is still under construction but the sponsors were salivating at the earliest opportunity to bring NASCAR racing back to the Lone Star state and into the Dallas- Ft. Worth market. The track was modeled after Charlotte Motor Speedway but resembles Charlotte only from the air. The exit to turn 4 onto the frontstretch is dangerously narrow and the track falls off in the turns. However, companies like Tide, Western Auto, DuPont, and Havoline demanded a race in Texas. They got a race.. sort of. A demolition derby is more like it though.

Bruton Smith, in an effort to control all of stock car racing, constructed the Texas Motor Speedway with a grand vision of a racing jewel in the heart of Texas. It's a beautiful track with ammenties galore. However, when experienced drivers like Ricky Craven and Rusty Wallace can simply lose their cars and wreck coming out of turn 4, a more pressing need has to be addressed. The track had one line all the way around. Get out of that line and you go to back. Historically, NASCAR has sent one of its lesser divisions to a new track before sending the Winston Cup cars. In Homestead, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada, the truck series and the Busch Grand National Series was sent to those tracks first. However, a combination of over-zealous sponsors and a cut throat businessman pulled the top series in NASCAR to Texas.

On the Saturday before the race, one veteran NASCAR driver was asked what could be done to improve the track. He repiled, "They have to start over and build a damn racetrack." Well, there were no major incidents during the Interstate Batteries 500 but NASCAR should listen to its drivers when they speak of Bruton's dream track. Nightmare is more like it.

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