Can it really be any more obvious? The buzz heard ‘round NASCAR nation is all over the racing on the road courses at Infineon and Road America. Forget everything you used to think about road courses, because these two events, along with recent history have shown, the idea of three or maybe even four road course on the schedule is what NASCAR needs.
The road course events are no longer a “vulture’s holiday.” Road course ringers? Who needs them? The notion of a hired gun brought in to give your team a better finish is a desperation ploy for the bottom feeders. Even then, how’s that worked for them?
Today, after the Sprint Cup event in Sonoma, and the Nationwide Series race in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, it’s not Ron Fellows or Boris Said we’re talking about, it’s Martin Truex Jr. and A.J. Allmendinger that are the hot topics of conversation. Truex busts a long victory drought and Allmendinger’s road to redemption makes an inspirational stop. Oh by the way, these two aren’t road course specialists- especially not Truex, who was more of a short track guy.
For this fan, it’s fun to watch drivers negotiate the tricky turns. You also have to have a keen eye on where to pick your points to pass; and if you’re smart enough to know where to steal one, you just might be a winner. It another challenge addressed by courses such as these is the downforce issue. Not only does it open the door for greater competitiveness, it also gives us better battles for position. Getting up front is not about clean air, it’s about getting out the traffic jams. Cookie cutters? No two road courses are alike.
It’s been brought up before, but it bears repeating I hear so-called “old school” race fans carp about these not being “the tracks on which NASCAR was built.” Horse hockey! Do you think moonshiners were outrunning revenue agents on ovals? I’ll give you a hint: No! Besides, does anybody remember Riverside?
No, you can’t have these every week, but imagine adding say, a Cup date at Road America, and then pick some other course around the country. As far as pulling dates go, I think we all have nominations, and most of them are on the tracks of the mile-and-a-half variety.
Come on, NASCAR, think about it. Here’s an impactful change, Brian France: get places like Road America on the schedule, along with a couple of more short tracks (including some that had Cup dates taken away). That’s a change worth believing in.