The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Sunday. This time though, the drivers will hit the road course. This race comes immediately after Watkins Glen and will be the 6th out of 7th road course on the schedule this year. Is this too many for the typically oval based series?
Turning Right More Often
Typically in a NASCAR season, there are only two or three road courses at most. This makes sense since the stock cars in NASCAR are really actually designed to mainly turn left. The road course races though do make for some exciting moments for fans. NASCAR is an entertainment property like all other sports
properties. It makes sense that they would add more of what entertains fans.
NASCAR has had an issue with retaining interest among viewers. One of the factors of that issue are oval tracks that are almost identical to each other, often nicknamed “cookie cutter tracks” by fans. Luckily for NASCAR, there are plenty of road courses available in the US to help change things up. NASCAR has absolutely taken advantage of that this season.
Exciting For Fans, Not So Much For Drivers
Drivers are the heart and soul of NASCAR. They are what gives the series its personality and one of the main reason fans tune in. NASCAR typically weighs the opinions of their drivers very heavily. In the case of adding more road courses though, seems as though NASCAR may not have listened to many of their drivers.
"How do you feel about more road courses, @dennyhamlin."
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) February 22, 2021
While no driver has specifically spoken out against road courses, Denny Hamlin has made some presumably sarcastic remarks. Following the race at the Daytona Road Course this season, Hamlin simply said “More road courses.” Its not hard to imagine that many other drivers share Denny’s sentiment. Most drivers have trained all their lives to race on ovals, and now they’re expected to change what they know. It could be a case of “get good,” but sometimes change like this is unnecessary.
Do More Road Courses Detract From NASCAR?
The Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the crown jewel races in NASCAR. America’s most popular motorsport was racing on America’s most storied track. This year though, NASCAR will not be racing on Indy’s historic oval. This time the more openly critical Denny Hamlin said; “I don’t love it; I don’t love the move. It took away a crown jewel.”
NASCAR is an oval racing series, even if oval racing can seem bland, it is what the series is built around. Road courses do bring some great excitement and variety, but adding more could ruin that. Road courses could go from a must watch event in a season, to just another race on the schedule. Perhaps its best for NASCAR to stick to its guns rather than spoil one of its unique qualities.
‘From our Haus to yours’