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More road courses, please!

By admin | August 12, 2014

By Richard Allen

After watching the showdown over the final few laps of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen between eventual winner A.J. Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose, I have to say that more road courses on the NASCAR schedule would not be the worst idea in the world. That is especially true when the finish of a couple of years ago on the same track between Ambrose, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch is remembered.

In reality, it’s not just road courses I’d like to see more of. I believe the NASCAR schedule would benefit greatly from the removal of so many 1.5 - 2 mile ‘cookie cutters’ and the addition of any type track that takes aerodynamics more out of the picture to bring the driver and the mechanical aspects of the car more into the picture.

Short tracks would also fit into the above description along with the tracks featuring turns going both left and right.

But as I write this, I am fully aware of the economics of the situation. NASCAR, like every other business in America, is money driven. With that being the case, the sanctioning body, which is run by a family who is heavily invested in a corporation that runs race tracks, is not going to abandon their facilities just because I think it sounds like a good idea.

So here is a possible solution. Take the existing tracks and use the road courses already built into them. If NASCAR and International Speedway, Corp. are determined to race at places like Kansas and Michigan twice each season, then use the road courses once and the ovals once. If the recent races at Watkins Glen are any indication, doing so would make for a much better show.

I believe the track owners could actually increase profits and make racing better at the same time by doing this. Of course, I guess the big risk might be the possibility of the road course race stirring so much interest at those tracks that tickets for the oval races would be even harder to sell. But looking at the grandstands of most facilities this season, I don’t think that’s a challenge that isn’t already in place.

Please note, I am not suggesting that NASCAR abandon oval track racing. That is the heart and soul of the sport. And it is noteworthy to mention that I used to be one of those ‘purists’ who believed that NASCAR should only turn left. I have changed that opinion over the years. I now believe that for the betterment of the show, a little variety apart from the multitude of sameness would have to help.

To help prove my point, watch this week’s race at Michigan and compare it to last week at Watkins Glen or next week at Bristol. I hope this week’s race is a good one, but the likelihood of it being better than the other two isn’t very high.

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9 Responses to “More road courses, please!”

  1. mike Says:
    August 12th, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I like the idea of adding 2 more road courses and the infield courses would be perfect. Great idea. You could even rotate which tracks get the road races each year. (I think almost all the big tracks have infield courses?)

  2. Benjamin P. Glaser Says:
    August 12th, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Just curious, but how much work would need to be done to make the road courses at Kansas or Michigan able to handle that? I know I heard that the Indy Road Course would have to be overhauled.

  3. Michael in SoCal Says:
    August 12th, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Totally agree. Way too many 1.5 - 2.0 mile cookie cutter tracks. But only a few have road courses that would work - Texas, Charlotte & Homestead-Miami would be the best ones in my opinion.

  4. Bill B Says:
    August 13th, 2014 at 5:57 am

    You are 100% correct. And you are not alone. According to Jayski the Watkins Glen ratings were up significantly. Apparently other purists have started to embrace the road courses as well.
    As for making ISC and SMI happy, that is the problem. NASCAR the sanctioning body needs to be separated from ISC. Then NASCAR the sanctioning body can schedule races where ever makes the most sense based on attendance, ratings and market penetration.

  5. Russ Says:
    August 13th, 2014 at 9:39 am

    As a former road racer I’d love to see more road races on the schedule. And having raced on several on the road courses at Charlotte and Daytona they would both work. As to the other tracks, I will reserve judgement for now.
    As for the ratings for Watkins Glen, they are probably an anomaly. Given the news of the previous evening you’d expect a surge in interest.
    But I suspect the point is moot, unless some outside intervention occurs.

  6. Andrew from MidTN Says:
    August 13th, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I’ve had the same idea.

    Pocono and Daytona have good road courses in the infield.

  7. Richard Says:
    August 13th, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    And to get back to NASCAR roots, have each track abe mixture of gravel, dirt and pavement. Since the roadcources are right and left turns, alternate which way they go on each track; the next race got the other way.

  8. Tony Geinzer Says:
    August 13th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Rich, I think try to have Watkins Glen and Sears Point in the Fall, and have a True Western Swing in the Fall. Also, a lot of it with the Glen is 1. I want the Long Course. 2. I don’t want a Summer Race at the Glen due to Rain and the Bad Vibes of this Year. And also, have VIR, Road Atlanta and Barber in Cup.

  9. Jesse Says:
    August 14th, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Road America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!