Woody: On Road Racing, Put Me Down For A No
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
Well, they’re off to Snore-noma this weekend for a road race.
Time to catch up on watching the grass grow.
If I could figure out what time the race is over – which is impossible because I can’t even figure out what time it starts – I’d leave a wakeup call.
I think most NASCAR fans feel the same way. I can’t understand for the life of me why NASCAR persists in running two Sprint Cup races on road courses at Sonoma, Calif. and Watkins Glen, N.Y.
I don’t get it. Why not give one of the races to a great, proven venue like Kentucky Speedway? Or even my home track, Nashville Supespeedway, a terrific 1.3-mile concrete layout?
OK, so I’m provincial. But I guarantee you a Cup race at Kentucky or Nashville would beat any road course ride-around out in the Land of the Quiche-Eaters.
And if not here or there, then anywhere – shoot, give Darlington its second race back, return one to Rockingham. Run three at Bristol. Re-open North Wilkesboro. Anywhere, so long as its round and banked and the cars turn left.
Someone, writing in defense of road course racing, asked if we gripers would like to see every race run at Talladega. Yes, of course. But that’s beside the point.
For years I went to Riverside (Calif.) for the season-ending road race, where Darrell Waltrip clinched his first of three championships. It was something to see – or, more accurately, not see. The field of cars would thunder by the press box, disappear around a curve, and wouldn’t been seen again for two or three minutes. When the pack finally did come back into view, often some cars would be missing.
What happened to them? Where’d they go? Nobody seemed to have any idea. They’re still out there somewhere, far as I know.
Then there’s the ringers. Road races bring out NASCAR’s designated hitters. If road racing is really NASCAR racing, then why are these specialists needed? More to the point, why are the allowed?
Some defend the presence of road races on the Cup schedule because they’re “different.”
Well, racing camels around the track would be “different” too. If “different” is what you want, let’s add a couple of camel races to the NASCAR schedule.
I suspect that Kyle Busch would crash his dromedary in the first turn.
I realize that the first “stock car races” were held on road courses. The drivers zinged around back-country roads with moonshine sloshing in the truck and revenuers on their tails. But the sport has evolved. It became civilized and started running in circles.
Look, I’m kidding – sort of. I have nothing against road racing except that it’s boring by round-track standards and represents an entirely different brand of racing.
If you happen to be one of the three fans who like it, fine. Some folks like cold goose liver, Rosie O’Donnell and ball-room dancing. Have at it. But include me out.
The NFL doesn’t play 14 games on turf in cleats and two on an ice rink in skates. That’s not a criticism of ice skating – it’s just not the way football was meant to be played. Ditto for NASCAR racing and road courses.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments