At Richmond, Jimmie Johnson Offers Idea On How To Improve NASCAR Racing

With the dearth of cautions and passing the last couple of weeks, there have been a variety of different ideas bandied about regarding why the on-track action has seemingly been lacking in NASCAR as of late.

And like many others, five-time series champion Jimmie Johnson had his own theory as to why the quality of racing isn't at the level many have grown accustomed to watching.

The way Johnson sees it, the only way the on-track product is going to improve is if NASCAR takes a harder look at the tracks on which the Cup series competes – not with the cars themselves.

"I think the change comes with the venues," he said Friday at Richmond International Raceway. "The change comes with the resurfacing of tracks and reconfiguring tracks to make more side-by-side racing. And then there's also the argument of tracks that create more cautions that some people want to see.

"From a competition side, NASCAR has created a very level playing field, which we were all after. And now we need to look at the venues and try to put on a better show based on the tracks."

While it's unlikely NASCAR is going to radically make over the Sprint Cup Series schedule by taking dates away from tracks and awarding them to facilities where the racing is deemed "better," there might be some truth in what Johnson said Friday.

A quick glance at the current schedule shows over one third of the races are held on tracks between 1.5-to-2 miles in length – tracks which are almost virtually indistinguishable from one another both to causal and the diehard fan alike – and prominently feature long stretches of single-file racing.

So if a change is going to occur how will it start? Johnson said fan opinion – perhaps influenced by the drivers – can actually make things happen. And the "ultimate influence," he said, is fans showing "their approval or disapproval with ticket sales."

"I understand it would be foolish to take a perfectly good surface and rip it up," Johnson said. "It's expensive to redo it. But as we start resurfacing tracks, I just ask that all the track owner/operators spend a lot of time thinking about the competition, the type of racing we put on and how we can use that opportunity to make it better."

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