Monday, June 21, 2010

Stock cars at Road America

NASCAR was in the my neck of the woods over the weekend, and the opportunity to see the big cars muscle around Road America’s 14 – left and right – corners was not to be missed.

I’ve been to any number of the United States’ premier road racing circuits; Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, Michigan, Indianapolis, and Watkins Glen for the U.S.G.P back in the day. Plus a bunch of smaller circuits for SCCA club events. But Road America is by far my favorite race track.

Road America would be a lovely place to spend the afternoon even if there weren’t a race track there. Deep green forests of mature oaks stand at the tops of long lush hills leading down to the track.

To someone from Wisconsin, it’s almost unnatural that there are no Holsteins on the slopes of the valley that holds turn five.

When there’s a race, it’s like county fair time, but instead of prize cows you have these amazing cars.

In this case, it was the NASCAR Nationwide cars that were stampeding around the course, and these animals do have some very wide shoulders. The NASCAR boys are not afraid to lean on the competition when things get tight, and Road America has lots of turns where things got very tight. Too tight in a couple of cases. NASCAR needs to learn that a car off the course doesn’t necessitate a full course yellow flag until - well, until the cows come home.

Unfortunately, I was not at Canada Corner when the three lead cars entered this legendary downhill 90-degree right-hander side-by-side, but that amazing moment has been added to the lore of this track, which goes back to the mid-50’s – the very beginning of sports car racing in the U.S.

I don’t know if you’d call these machines sports cars, but I’m pretty sure the drivers enjoyed their drive in the country about as much as we enjoyed watching them.

All content copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2010

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