The season is changing, the air is getting crisp, football is on the horizon, and so is track racing.
For racing fans, the first few weeks of October are always a bittersweet time. On the one hand, you’re eager to witness the start of the racing season and on the other, you’re a little bit sad because you have to wait until November to see your favorite tracks again.
One of the biggest tracks in the country, Bridgeport Speedway in Bridgeport, Connecticut, closed its doors for the last time this year on August 31st. The track had been open since 1923 and played host to some incredible moments in racing history. Sadly, it was not meant to be, at least not this year. In an effort to preserve the legacy of this historic track, let’s take a look at the decline of the American sporting scene and how the sport of speedway will be missed.
The Rise And Fall Of Sports
Anyone who follows the sports scene in the United States can’t help but feel that the past season was incredibly disappointing. After years of dominance, the U.S. men’s national team failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. The 2020 edition of the men’s hockey world cup, also known as the Winter Olympics, was another disappointment for U.S. fans, as the country failed to make it out of the group stage.
The women’s sport fared a little bit better, as Team USA made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Sweden. The women’s basketball team also enjoyed some success, making it to the finals for the first time in the country’s history. They fell just short of making it to the top four, losing to Canada in the final.
There was also a huge blow to the American boxing scene when Tyson Fury declined an offer to fight WBC heavyweight champion Joe Cool. Fury, who had dominated his sport for a decade before turning down the challenge, may have been motivated by bitterness toward the WBC, which had stripped him of his title due to inaction on drugs. The lack of big fights could be attributed to the general malaise gripping Major League Baseball and the National Football League at the moment. The NBA season was good, but nothing spectacular. The average game was filled with tense scoreless contests. For the first time in years, there was almost no entertainment value to be found in an NBA game.
Why Is Bridgeport Speedway Important?
Besides the obvious fact that it’s one of the biggest tracks in the country, Bridgeport Speedway is important because it’s one of the last pure speedways left in existence. Back in the day, speedways were a place where drivers from both NASCAR and the IndyCar series would come to shine, proving themselves on an 80-lap shootout. Today, the cars still do the same thing, but because of the advent of road races and time attacks, the significance of a track like Bridgeport has diminished.
The nostalgia inherent in a track like Bridgeport is undeniable, and it speaks to the historic nature of the venue. The track was once known as the Mecca of racing in New England, and it definitely holds that title today. Still, its days as a mainstay of the racing calendar are numbered. The owners have decided to close the doors for the final time this year, and they have already booked a date for the NASCAR Hall of Fame to lay a commemorative brick at the entranceway.
Whether you’re a diehard NASCAR fan or an IndyCar supporter, there will be at least one historic track that you remember from childhood. Many of them have closed down, and that’s a missed opportunity. The best part about these tracks is that even people who are not that into motorsport can have fun on days when there isn’t a big race because they know what is going on. The teams, the drivers, and the fans all congregate at these places, creating an atmosphere that is unparalleled in American sport.
If you think that racing on a track like Bridgeport is a thing of the past, then think again. A lot has changed since those halcyon days of yesteryear, but the sport of speedway is alive and well and has migrated online. The drivers may no longer line up on the track for hot laps, but they’re out there somewhere, just itching to race. The teams are embracing new technology and the opportunity to get in some high-quality practice sessions while the season is off. The fans can still follow the action closely, and maybe one day, we’ll all be able to say that we were there when the last race of the season was held at Bridgeport.