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Thu, Oct 23, 2014

WOODY: Another silent season for Superspeedway

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Middle Tennessee's biggest 2013 racing story was no story.

There was nothing new to report on the continued shutdown of Nashville Superspeedway.

And the sounds of silence will continue in 2014.

NASCAR has announced all of its touring series schedules for this season, and the huge racing complex located on the Wilson County/Rutherford County line is not among them.

Dover Downs Motorsports, which opened the Superspeedway in 2001 amid high hopes and hoopla, ran its last race there in 2011 after struggling with dwindling attendance.

It was a failed Field of Dreams. They built it, but the fans didn't come.

Dover officials have indicated they are open to selling the track, but so far there have been no takers.

Looking back at other 2013 racing headlines:

The Chase fiasco: When Clint Bowyer intentionally spun out in the closing laps of the last "regular season" race at Richmond to manipulate the final running order, it threw the finish, the championship lineup and the entire sport into disarray.

NASCAR tried to put the toothpaste back in the tube by removing Bowyer's teammate Martin Truex, who had qualified for the Championship Case and replacing him with Ryan Newman, who hadn't. Then it compounded the travesty by tossing in another non-qualifier, Jeff Gordon, on the theory that he "might" have made it. Yeah, sure -- and I "might" have joined Danica Patrick in a hot-tub after the race.

In the wacky wake, some critics compared NASCAR to pro wrestling, which was unfair to pro wrestling.

Tony Stewart's wipeout: A broken leg suffered in a sprint car crash turned Tony from championship contender to spectator for the final part of the season.

On one hand you have to admire his dedication to racing, dabbling in hobby-level events just for the fun of it. On the other hand you have to question the wisdom of risking his neck (or leg, in this case) and wiping out the season while horsing around.

Maybe Tony should take up bowling. Bowlers seldom crash and burn.

Jimmie Johnson wins sixth: "Mr. Five Time" is now "Mr. Six Time" after sprinting to his sixth championship in eight years. That leaves him one shy of the record shared by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.

Even before his tires had cooled off after the final race, Jimmie was asked The Question: "Can he snare No. 7 this season?"

And the other nagging question: "Is Jimmie winning because he's such a great driver, or because he has such a great team?"

Some of  both, probably.

Junior's goose egg: Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished the season with another zero in the win column. He made the Chase, but dug himself an early hole and couldn't climb out.

Nevertheless, Junior collected his 11th consecutive Most Popular Driver Award. At least he has something to take up all that vacant space in his trophy case.

Danica's flop: No driver in history has received more attention for less results than Danica Patrick. After a big splash at Daytona, Danica faded fast and was never a serious contender to win.

At least the frisky divorcee added some spice to an increasingly-bland sport. The difference in most of NASCAR's modern-day drivers and a cardboard cutout is that the cutout has more personality. Also, the cutouts race harder and complain less.

But there's always a new year.

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Larry Woody, NASCAR, Racing, Sports, Voices
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