The Superstar Racing Experience is coming this summer as a sprint race short-track series for retired racers founded by Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart. Much like the rest of the series—from the tv package on CBS Sports, and lineup of rinky-dink race tracks, to the driver lineup that peaks with recently retired rolling embodiment of nepotism in IndyCar Marco Andretti—the spec SRX chassis around which the racing will be based, is extremely phoned-in. The new car, unveiled on social media Monday afternoon, is the result of tens of minutes of drafting by a 9-year-old with a crayon.
The car itself is quite clearly based on an existing off-the-shelf circle track chassis with some superfluous bodywork on it. The nose cone is sloping and chunky in the way a Super Late at hundreds of dirt ovals around the country is every Saturday night. The sides are harsh and slabbed because bending sheet metal is expensive. The wing out back is probably the biggest deal of the design, and it looks fine enough. Because these cars have to be raced for six weekends straight, I imagine the point of this chassis was robustness and ease of turnaround for the next race. For that reason, the car’s shape makes a lot of sense. Every car will probably have a full set of replacement bodywork for each race, so that the teams can quickly tear them down and get them back in shape for the next race.
For six weeks this summer, SRX will race at world-renowned race courses on par with the greats, like Stafford Motor Speedway and Nashville Fairgrounds. The racing is sure to delight and stupefy as legends of the sport like Ernie Francis, Jr. and Michael Waltrip battle it out. With some of the racers in the series being well into their sixties, the whole point of this was that it wouldn’t be taxing physically. The tracks are low-speed, the races are short, and as a result the cars are kind of inconsequential to the whole thing. They only really need to be accommodating for the racers who have let their midsection expand since retiring, and forgiving to drive for the ones ready for bed at 7:30 pm.
I’ll give this series a chance this summer if for nothing else, because it’s so low stakes. I don’t have to invest much time or care into this series to understand the storylines of how it plays out. It’ll start in mid-June and be over by mid-July, so there’s not much in the way of long-term attention needed to be paid to this. Maybe I’m being cynical, and it’ll be the greatest thing to happen to circle track racing since Dale himself. We’ll find out this summer.
Evernham is a genius of the sport, so I assume he must have scheduled dozens of hours testing this shape in the wind tunnel to get it inch perfect, and then slept through his alarm the morning of the test and decided it was fine as-is. Wow, this thing looks a mess. I hope the racing is worth watching, at least. If nothing else, the cars sound pretty good.
I was genuinely looking forward to this series when former F1 racer and Le Mans winner Mark Webber was listed on the roster, but he’s recently been removed from the SRX website without so much as a mention. I was truly hoping Mr. Aussie Grit would run rings around the rest of the grid, but since he’s gone I’ll be forced to cheer for Tony Kanaan instead.