NASCAR: More road courses please

As it’s widely known, the first tier of NASCAR racing, the Sprint Cup, is run mostly on oval courses. To the foreign eye, all ovals look pretty much the same (“all they have to do is to turn left” etc.) but the reality is that oval racing is incredibly difficult and technical and there are in fact at least 4 types of ovals: 1) superspeedways which are run with a restrictor plate as otherwise racing becomes too dangerous (Daytona, Talladega), 2) other “long” ovals (Indianapolis, Fontana), 3) 1.5 mile ovals (Texas, Las Vegas) and 4) short tracks (Richmond, Bristol) – this last format is particularly weird for the European taste but has a massive following, not least because the races provide a unique fan experience (I.e. fans can often see the whole track and the effect of 43 cars spread within 0.5 miles is overwhelming).

So there’s more to oval racing than meets the eye but that doesn’t mean that NASCAR has the perfect race calendar…

There are some road courses in NASCAR but too few and far in between. However, both the Sonoma and Watkins Glen events have provided excellent racing in 2012 – eg the last lap of today’s race.

It would be a very smart move by NASCAR to expand the number of road courses as this would appeal to a large fan base outside the United States who enjoy V8 Supercars, DTM and other forms of powerful touring car racing. With a 36 race schedule this would be perfectly doable. It’s with steps like this NASCAR can move from a very successful US business to a more global series.


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