All NASCAR fans have seen the dwindling attendance at most tracks across the calendar as well as the decreased sponsorship involvement in the series. While some tracks are struggling to sell tickets, the one part of the schedule that continues to thrive is road courses.
The days where Daytona, Bristol and Charlotte would sell out and have full grandstands are gone. However, tracks like Watkins Glen and Sonoma are consistently full year in and year out and attendance is on the rise. Not only that, but they provide an element to racing that can’t be duplicated at super speedways, ovals and short tracks. That element is right and left turns! So, we have to ask the question, is it time for NASCAR to add more road courses to their schedule?
The answer is simple: YES YES YES!!!
The proof can be seen every week on television broadcasts. Just last weekend fans were able to see aerial video of the camping sections at Watkins Glen and could see that there were no empty spots to be had. The grandstands at the track were also very full compared to most tracks on the schedule. Not only are ticket sales rising at road courses each year, they produce exciting and competitive racing.
Road courses also provide unique viewing opportunities that ovals simply cannot provide. Instead of remaining in one location all day to watch the race, fans can move to various locations around the track, catching the action from numerous viewing spots during the race.
Because of an agreement with NASCAR and 23 tracks on the current schedule, no major changes can come until the 2021 season. Until then, we can only speculate as to what kind of changes NASCAR can and will make in the coming years to try and boost fan attendance.
So, if NASCAR does choose to add more road courses to the schedule, where should they go? Here are ten choices NASCAR should consider adding to their future racing schedules:
1. Road Atlanta
Located in Braselton, GA, this 2.54-mile 12-turn road course is one of the most prestigious in the country. While already holding a 1,000 IMSA sports car race on its schedule, adding a NASCAR event would bring the notorious road course another wonderful event. There’s no doubt that NASCAR could put on one amazing show here!
2. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Resting in the quiet town of Lexington, Ohio, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is an obvious choice for NASCAR’s top series. The Xfinity Series already races here yearly and adding the Monster Energy Cup Series to the schedule would be a great choice. The 2.4-mile course has produced many exciting races, including a 2016 classic while racing in the rain.
3. Circuit of the Americas
One of the newest road courses in the country, the Circuit of the Americas would be amazing addition to the NASCAR schedule. While currently hosting Formula 1 and sports car races, adding a NASCAR event would add a new dimension to their schedule. The 3.427-mile course would provide another unique challenge to NASCAR’s top drivers at a world class circuit.
4. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
While only hosting the Camping World Truck Series since 2013, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is another track North of the Border that would make perfect sense on the Monster Energy Cup schedule. The circuit has also produced exciting races and great action, with drivers such as Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney taking wins on the famed circuit.
5. Virginia International Raceway
This huge facility in Alton, Virginia would provide the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series various opportunities to host an event. The track offers multiple configurations with the full course measuring 3.27 miles with 17 turns. There’s no doubt this circuit would test even the best drivers in NASCAR.
6. Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
Why not South of the Border? The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez just like Circuit Gilles Villeneuve already hosts a Formula 1 grand prix at the circuit. The 2.674-mile course would no doubt be a challenge to NASCAR’s top series. However, there is no doubt that the Mexican NASCAR fan base would embrace the Monster Energy Cup Series with open arms and rowdy fans.
7. Road America
Road America, like Mid-Ohio, makes obvious sense because of the existing race on the Xfinity Series. This 4.048-mile course has already proven that NASCAR can put on a show, with many exciting races already being held here since 2010.
8. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see NASCAR run a race out here? Wouldn’t in be even more amazing to see a stock car drop through the famous “corkscrew?” At 2.238-miles in length, Laguna Seca would provide a unique challenge to the big stock cars NASCAR races. However, with another road course on the schedule at Sonoma, the odds of this track being added to the schedule are slim. We can only hope when it comes to this track!
9. Watkins Glen International
Yes, Watkins Glen is already on the NASCAR schedule. However, the track has another part of the track that isn’t used by the NASCAR series, and that is the Boot. Fans of the sports car racing know that the Boot is one of the most exciting parts of the legendary upstate New York circuit. Could we see NASCAR run the full 3.4-mile course? We sure hope so!
10. Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway already has two events on the NASCAR schedule, but just like Watkins Glen, there is another piece of the course that NASCAR could use and that is the infield road course. NASCAR could shift its July race to the road course providing fans with an exciting change to the Cup series schedule.
Are there other road course you would like to see on the NASCAR schedule? What do you think of these tracks? Please feel free to discuss on Facebook and Twitter!
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