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A Slick Solution To Produce More Racing ‘Classics’

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, August 17 2012

Jeff Gordon's day came to a slick, spinning conclusion Sunday at The Glen. Wasn't it great? (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

In the wake of the rave reviews of last Sunday’s “epic” finish at Watkins Glen International, the one destined to become an “instant classic” because the final two laps over the 2.45-mile road course were run on a film of ultra-slick synthetic oil, the race which will be “replayed for years to come” because it was so superbly entertaining, here is a suggestion to re-invigorate the most American of all sports:

Oil down all the tracks every week for every race.

Think of the action, think of the drama, think of the ratings, think of  the sponsorship opportunities.

Why stop with just oiling the tracks down? Ban seat belts and helmets and fuel cells; blindfold the drivers; take down the catch fences; chain convicts to the track; allow – if not encourage – drug use by drivers; raise the height of the pit walls so crew members have a hard, if not impossible, time getting out of the way of the speeding cars; exploding fenders; crossbow day.

Every race could be an instant classic with an epic finish.

Or, the sport could return to racing.

Just sayin’.

Several drivers pulled off the track well ahead of schedule last Sunday at The Glen because of suspension-parts breakage.

Gee, how did that happen?

The guess here, from a non-engineering standpoint, is that perhaps it had something to do with 3,400-pound stock cars which are heavily weighted toward the front wheels, hitting concrete rumble strips at 60 mph.

In some series, the strips are regarded as obstacles – deterrents to cutting the corners. In NASCAR, they have become targets. Cars no longer hit the apex of a turn, they sail over them.

Just an observation.

Thanks, Brian Pattie, for telling it like it really, actually, literally is.

With 23 laps to go, and his driver, Clint Bowyer third, the Michael Waltrip Racing crew chief was asked if could give the leaders – Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart at the time – a run for the victory at The Glen.

Pattie said he was more interested in the points situation and the Chase. Pattie said he would go for win if the chance presented itself, but…

Nothing profound about that. Just kind of refreshing during a time when many competitors get indignant if you accuse them of points racing.

Race fans are quite capable of listening to words and then witnessing deeds and then drawing fairly accurate conclusions.

Nothing wrong with points racing. It is the way of the NASCAR world these days and has been for decades. The uncomfortable part comes with militant insistence that race victories are more important to the competitors than making the Chase and winning the season championship.

Just an opinion.

Finally…interesting how times have changed on the subject of road racing and the suggestion that it would be a great idea to add another to the Sprint Cup schedule. One which would be held during the Chase.

People who were suggesting that a couple of years back used to take bloody beatings from a lot of quarters.

Now, making such a suggestion is pro forma in the days before and after an event at The Glen or Sonoma. Even in the garages.

Rendered down to the simplest of logic, the reason for more road racing is: Most action in racing happens in corners, e.g. the more corners, the more action. Road courses have lots of corners, e.g….

The thought here: A race at the greatest of American road courses, Road America in May; a race at Watkins Glen in early August; move Sonoma to the Chase.

Second option: End the season on the Daytona road course.

Just hopin’.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, August 17 2012
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