Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Richmond, Virginia, will be the third time in a month the series has hit a short track. Richmond is three-quarters of a mile, for a race following up recent weekends at Bristol, Tennessee, and Martinsville, Virginia—both half-miles. After Richmond, the series returns to several weeks of longer tracks, each over one mile.
In recent years, much talk has been made about the dearth of short tracks in NASCAR. As the sport has grown its footprint across the nation—and increased its revenues—over the past 20 years, NASCAR's leaders have gone away from short tracks. Instead, they have focused on moving races to bigger venues (like the relatively new 1.5-mile length Kentucky Speedway). Many of these newer tracks have been referred to derogatorily as "cookie cutter" because they almost seem the same in their dimensions and lack of personality.
While many old school fans—like this reporter—can still long for the days of short-track racing, the sport has clearly moved in another direction.