The Superstar Racing Experience, or SRX, was the brainchild of Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham, a short-track stock car racing series designed with the fan experience in mind. I’ve been to my fair share of races, and I was bound and determined to evaluate this racing event from a fan’s perspective.
Now, I had very big plans and intended to pack all my belongings in Philadelphia and stop at Nashville overnight to watch SRX on my move back home. That, obviously, did not work out (crazy how moving takes a lot more effort than you imagine!), so I sent my tickets to a race fan named Ashley Truelove in exchange for a run-down of the event.
First off, Truelove was impressed with how smoothly the event was organized. She wasn’t able to get to the track until 4:30, so her parking lot was full, but she managed to find parking with no issue. The three entry gates made for quick access — but I was disappointed to hear that, while coolers were allowed, alcohol wasn’t. You also had to buy merch outside the track, or scan out and scan back in if you wanted to shop mid-race.
“The food and drink options inside the track were pretty standard from what I saw. But since no alcohol was allowed to be brought in the beer lines were looooooong, Truelove told me. “My friend was nice enough to stand in line for me so I wouldn’t miss the driver intros for SRX. I think he waited in line at least 20 minutes for a beer.” The pricing for food, though, was pretty reasonable; Hamburgers, barbecue sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza slices, and pretzels ran from about $5 to $8.
She added, “One thing I really loved was all the concession stand lines had TVs broadcasting the race so you didn’t have to miss the action. I would kill for NASCAR to have that.”
Truelove was also impressed with the track itself:
The track itself is so amazing, I’m a NASCAR history nerd, so I’ve always wanted to go to a race there to check it off my list. When you first step out into the grandstands under that huge iconic canopy it’s like stepping back in time for a second, doesn’t seem like a whole lot has changed. Looking out into the infield and pit road though it was hard to imagine NASCAR coming back there, they’re both so tiny for how big NASCAR has become but I hope they can figure it out and make it work.
The only problem with the seating was it was general admission for this race and a sold out crowd so we had to wander around for a while until we found 2 empty seats. The crowd itself was very high energy and it seemed like mostly Nashville area locals. Everyone seemed really happy and excited to see the first sold out race there in decades and optimistic about what it could mean for future races. Definitely a sea of Chase Elliott shirts everywhere. The younger couple in front of us were strictly Indy Car fans and the older guys behind us talked to us about Bill Elliott and Dick Trickle.
I liked that the stage they did all of [the driver intros] on was right in front of the grandstands, there was no track or fencing dividing the driver intros from the fans. They had all the SRX cars lined up on the track as a backdrop. The crowd was very loud and lively during driver intros. At NASCAR races I’ve been to the last couple years driver intros have been pretty lack luster, a couple of the favorite drivers get decent cheers but otherwise the crowd doesn’t seem to pay much attention. Might be a bonus of the SRX series having a smaller field. Deegan got a huge cheer, Willy T seemed pretty popular in my section, Bill & Tony Stewart got loud ones then of course Chase got the loudest of all, but every single driver got a good loud response. Except of course, Paul Tracy.
Truelove also told me she was very impressed by the sheer number of pit passes that appeared to be sold, and the fans who attended in the grandstands maintained a consistently high-energy aura.
She did note, though, that the fans in the stands were not interested in the “fun flags,” or the yellows that the series throws mid-event to bunch up the field and create some more intensity with a restart. I can definitely understand that; one of the cautions came out during a Bill vs. Chase Elliott battle, which people really wanted to see, and it can be extra frustrating to have a lull in on-track action when you’re physically in the stands.
All that being said, Truelove was impressed. She’s been to plenty of races in her day, but she had a ton of fun at the SRX event in Nashville and says she hopes the series succeeds.
“There were a couple times I was just in awe of what I was witnessing and what Evernham brought together,” she said. “I mean where else can you see so many legends of so many different facets and eras of motorsports come together? Childhood racing heroes of mine that I never thought I’d get a chance to watch race again.
“One of the first NASCAR shirts I ever got as a kid in 1995 was a Gordon vs. Earnhardt one that said ‘Out with the old, in with the new,’ but SRX perfectly blends together those two.”
Her experience mimics that of other fans and friends I chatted to: the ability to see good, hard racing between some of motorsport’s greats was a treat to watch on television, but the spectacle was truly incredible in person. I’m heartbroken that I missed the Nashville event; I’ve only been to a few short track events in my life, and the novelty of SRX seemed like a really great way to build up my appreciation of local short tracks.
The fans I spoke with agreed that SRX is something special, even though many folks were skeptical about it at the start. I’m with Ashley here: It would be great to see this become a regular, growing fixture in the motorsport world.