It was supposed to be an event that would put short track racing’s best on NASCAR’s biggest stage and open the eyes of viewers on Speed to how good grassroots motorsports competition could be.
It was supposed to be.
NASCAR’s inaugural Battle at the Beach certainly opened eyes, but hardly for its events’ resemblance to what most see from short track and regional touring racing week to week across the country.
Three races on the NASCAR invented .4-mile flat oval on the backstretch at Daytona International Speedway produced three last lap finishes highlighted by drivers getting blatantly wrecked out of the lead in each race.
And to make it all that more interesting, three races, three leaders dumped, and nary a penalty handed down by officials.
Where is this fantasy world where that is the type of competition that represents short track racing?
In the end, The Battle At The Beach was a essentially a circus without a tent. An ugly caricature of the worst short track racing can be.
At its core the problems stemmed from asking drivers to compete on what was essentially a flawed race course purpose built to seemingly cause mayhem. Passing meant wrecking, that held true in all three divisions.
The fact is, chalk outlines on pavement are for marking where dead bodies fell or playing hopscotch, not for designing racetracks. If short track racing was meant to be contested in oversized parking lots, there’d be 4,000 Walmart Speedway’s across America today.
And worst of all was seeing the Whelen Modified Tour turned into a laughingstock punchline nationally for the evening.
During a 17-caution, 150-lap wreckfest for the Modified Tour, social media exploded with jokes and insults directed at the Tour and it’s drivers from across the spectrum of motorsports.
From national media, to upper level NASCAR drivers to those from divisions away from NASCAR, everybody jumped on the bandwagon lambasting the Modified Tour for being a bunch of awful drivers who couldn’t string together more three or four laps of green flag racing at a time.
Even Darrell Waltrip, the guy who never speaks a negative word about anything that has the word NASCAR attached to it, was chiming in on Twitter and taking shots at the Modified Tour.
Remember, this was supposed to be an event to showcase short track drivers and the divisions they run. Instead, the showcase was to put Dunce caps on them all and tell the world they’re clowns.
Speed already has a show called The Dumbest Stuff on Wheels, it didn’t need to be replicated for two nights in Daytona by short track racers.
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