The Big League

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The Big League were back in town and Birmingham last weekend was a meeting that many had in the diary all year as one not to miss. The combination of Brisca F1 Stock Cars and National Hot Rods in the traditional grading format has the potential to show oval racing in its best possible light with the elite formulas from the World of contact and non-contact.

For me I hadnít been to an oval meeting for about two months, issues in my personal life put racing on hold; I wonít dwell on the details but I will say it was a great feeling to be on the turnstiles with my dad alongside me. Birmingham was absolutely rammed, Iíve never seen the place so full I couldnít even park inside the car park and was left out on the road but that was a huge advantage when leaving.

Now I started writing this piece with the intention to cover the National Hot Rod meeting but hereís where it all fell apart. I could tell you how Kym Weaver took the lead in the final at the first corner and was tracked by Mikey Godfrey aided by running new tyres (he usually puts in some demon performances at Birmingham) but that isnít the story Iím thinking about. Some would say the meeting was one for the purists, which as far as Iím concerned means it wasnít particularly exciting.

I was a little disappointed by the National Hot Rods at Birmingham, I predicted the first four cars home before the final had even gridded. I want to expect the unexpected and this meeting didnít deliver, and I think the quality of racing has declined in the class. To me everything seems too samey, cars looks the same, qualifying process hasnít changed in 20 years, a few core tracks being used and Iím not getting the buzz from watching them that I used to. Now donít think Iím being Captain Grumpy here because I thought the Stock Cars were brilliant that night, a 63 year old winning the final was awesome and the fact I wouldnít have guessed this goes back to what I said earlier Ďexpect the unexpectedí.

I think concept of using points to decide the grid for the final has its merits but also its downfalls, in my opinion the racing in the final is not as exciting as it becomes predictable. I donít have a solution to this problem and some would say there isnít one as the racing has never been so close or the depth of quality been so great. That level playing field isnít what makes the sport interesting to watch.

Then as I was thinking about how to wrap up this little article I had another brainwave, perhaps thereís nothing wrong with National Hot Rods and Iím fretting about nothing, perhaps Iíve been tempted by the dark side and actually prefer cars smashing each other out of the way, maybe I just prefer Stock Cars to Hot Rods and I need to spend more time watching oval racing in the other direction.

Production team Text: Paul Ballard (22.10.15)
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