The first 58 laps of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park were fairly tame with a few spins and Coulter nosing it into the tires being the biggest highlights. Then Johnny Sauter stalled, the caution flew and everything got out of control fast. The battle for the win came down to a duel between young guns Chase Elliott & Ty Dillon. Both come from racing royalty and their battle Sunday was somewhat reminiscent of the old days when the red No.9 and the black No.3 battled tooth and nail for victories on a weekly basis. After Dillon sputtered, Chase could smell blood and immediately went on the attack. It ended with Chase tearing through the grass on his way to the checkered flag while Ty Dillon tried to get his truck dislodged from the tire barrier in the final corner as more trucks piled in.
The finish was incredible and the post-race antics were some of the craziest I’ve ever seen. As drivers showed their displeasure on the cool down lap, officials were trying to keep the irate No.3 crew away from Chase Elliott and his team. While all that was unfolding, it took three or four men to restrain German Quiroga as he tried to get to James Buescher…probably to say congrats on top 10, right? Then there were the stars of the day; Mike Skeen, Kelly Heaphy and Max Papis…the feud that stole the show and made that thrilling finish take a back seat in the highlight reel.
That finish and the post-race shenanigans that followed made news headlines all around the country and the controversy in Canada is still a hot topic 72 hours later. This race exemplifies the need for more road courses in NASCAR. I was an advocate for more road courses in NASCAR before it was cool to like road courses. Now it seems like most of NASCAR nation has jumped onto the right turn bandwagon. Every time NASCAR visits a road course, you are guaranteed to either see an angry driver, a wild finish, a big wow moment or all of the above.
There are many reasons why road courses put on such terrific shows. First and foremost, the drivers have to work a lot harder in the car and driver skill suddenly becomes more important than car capability. That’s reversed when we race on large, high banked ovals where powerful engines and the most aerodynamic car you can build within the regulations are a necessity. Also, negotiating 10 to 20 distinctly different turns is much more difficult than negotiating four similar corners but I’m sure Indycar’s Will Power will argue with that but that’s a discussion for different day. One mistake will send you wheel-hopping into the dirt and with so many drivers fighting for the apex of every corner rather than three or four different grooves, there is sure to be some contact. I also love the fact that you can have a car beat all to hell and still contend with it!
Fans want more road courses and NASCAR should definitely oblige them. I personally hope for a day when I can look at the Sprint Cup schedule and see 1/3rd of it on road courses but with the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) owning 18 of the 36 race dates and Speedway Motorsports (SMI) owning another 12; that dream of mine is unlikely. Unless of course Bruton Smith and ISC got the bright idea to build or buy some road courses to appease the millions of NASCAR fans that won’t bother to fill the stands at most of their cookie cutter tracks.
Heck, they don’t even have to leave the tracks we currently race at if they want a road course event. Many NASCAR ovals already have road courses built into the infield such as Daytona, Auto Club, Texas, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Homestead and Kansas. We call them “rovals.” I think it would be a great idea to utilize the infield road courses at some of these tracks; especially the ones that have two race dates. You could have one race be strictly on the oval and the have the other using the infield course to spice things up a little.
More road courses could be integral in NASCAR’s pursuit of increasing TV ratings and race attendance. The action at Watkins Glen every year is unrivaled with the exception of a few short tracks and the plate races. I’m not saying adding more road courses is the panacea NASCAR has been looking for but more of them certainly would help. At the very least, can we please get one in the chase? Maybe Circuit of the Americas? It would give the champion much more credence if they are able to say they out-performed their competitors at short tracks, high banked ovals, flat tracks AND road courses.