If Kevin Harvick had his way Charlotte Motor Speedway would no longer host NASCAR’s All-Star Race every year. Instead, other tracks would stage the annual event — specifically two short tracks that aren’t currently on the Monster Energy Cup Series schedule.
Harvick would like to see the mid-May non-points race rotate among different tracks, with venues even submitting bids to host the race featuring a select field of drivers. He mentioned Iowa Speedway, Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway as ideal locations. Neither Iowa nor the Fairgrounds have a Cup date, though Iowa does have a pair Xfinity Series races each year, while Bristol holds Cup races in the spring and late summer.
“I’m of the opinion that the All-Star Race should move around,” Harvick said on his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show Tuesday night. “It’s obviously been in Charlotte for a long time, but to have some intrigue and different things going around with it, I think it would be fun to take to a place like Nashville, Iowa, or Bristol.”
Since the All-Star Race’s inception in 1985, Charlotte has hosted every edition of the event but one, with the 1986 edition taking place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. When the race was originally conceived by NASCAR and R.J. Reynolds, the former Cup Series entitlement sponsor, it was to rotate among various tracks. But when the 1986 race struggled with attendance it was decided to keep the event at a single track.
The way Harvick envisions it, NASCAR could turn its All-Star Race into a multi-day celebration similar to all-star games in Major League Baseball and the NBA where fans turn out for the home run derby and slam dunk contest. As part of the festivities, he suggests NASCAR reinstitute the pit crew competition and incorporate other fan-driven events.
Harvick also said that if the Fairgrounds were to host the All-Star Race it would provide an opportunity for the half-mile track to make much-needed capital improvements to the venue, which was once a staple on the Cup schedule before being taken off following the 1984 season.
“It should be a week of things that promote our sport in a city that has bid to have our All-Star Race there,” Harvick said. “A place like Nashville would be a lot of fun to go in and rebuild the Fairground racetrack, and take it to a track with so much history in our sport and be able to showcase that and update that racetrack and have a made-for-TV-type event.”