Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith announced in a press conference at the Bristol Motor Speedway today that the plan is to take away the progressive banking in the top groove.
Smith said that they are "grinding down" the banking in the top groove to make it the same banking as the rest of the track. He said that it seemed like the top groove had a tremendous advantage compared to the bottom groove and that they wanted to do away with that.
This change should still let drivers run side-by-side by using the bottom and middle grooves, but they will run closer together and that should produce some more contact.
Bristol Motor Speedway was repaved and reconfigured after the 2007 March race. Progressive banking was added to the corners to produce side-by-side racing. It worked, but the fans were not happy with the new style of racing. After declining attendance the track that once had a streak of over 50 straight sold-out races, Smith decided to poll the race fans to see if they liked the current style of racing.
Smith said that initially the fans were overwhelmingly in favor of a change, but after a while it started to become a 60-40 split with more in favor of keeping the track the way it is. Smith said that this change should produce the best of both worlds.
Smith did not release the details about what the new banking in the upper groove will be. He also didn't say how much the whole process would cost, but that SMI would be paying for all the changes.