For a sport where so many say that being at the track provides an indelible experience, it’s past time that victory lane celebrations move to the track’s start/finish line from behind pit road.
Martinsville Speedway does it that way and provided fans with a memorable experience when Jeff Gordon won Nov. 1. Fans chanted Gordon’s name and cheered him throughout the photographs and interviews. He responded by pumping his fist and encouraging the fans to continue.
When Gordon’s duties were done, he went into the stands and high-fived fans who had stayed through the darkness to share in his moment.
Why wouldn’t every track want to give fans the chance for that experience? Why shouldn’t fans demand that victory lane be on the track so they can see their heroes in person instead of a large videoboard?
Instead, victory lane celebrations are hidden from fans behind pit road. If the sport can provide a stage for driver introductions at the beginning of the race, why can’t it do the same for a victory lane afterward?
What makes victory lane so far away from the fans a good thing? On local short tracks, the winner often stops on the track for the checkered flag and trophy presentation to be near the fans.
NASCAR should learn from the country’s short tracks and use this idea for all tracks in 2016.