Pocono. What a nice name. What nice scenery. That one straightaway with all those trees on the other side of the fence reminds me of the Daytona backstretch. Okay, one is forest, the other is pavement, but neither have a grandstand.
NASCAR is and has always been a southern sport. Even with the massive boom in popularity we saw from the early 90s till the late 2000s, NASCAR's primary fan base and roots were always in the short tracks of the Deep South. Bumping, banging, and hard-nosed racing is where rivalries and champions were born. It's what led blue-collar workers to become racers and race fans.
Ever since 1987, Charlotte has hosted the all-star race. Some, including Kevin Harvick, figure it should be rotated to other venues like those other sports do. I would agree, only if I had a veto as to what tracks it went to. Even then, I am not sure I would ever agree to the change.
As NASCAR swings into Chicago and begins the Chase, I can not help but notice that Denny Hamlin, and now Danica Patrick, have made mention that the season is too long. Reduce some races in length, reduce some altogether, run some mid-week are among their suggestions.
If there is anything we learned from Sunday it's that NASCAR needs more road courses. Hell, just another visit to Watkins Glen would do. On a track that appeared built for the bulky-fendered beasts, with breathtaking aerial camera shots, and with lots going on from start to finish, this is about as good as NASCAR gets.
Left, left, left, and (if not at Pocono) a final left. That is usually how it goes each week in NASCAR. This week is one of those unusual ones. Eleven turns at Watkins Glen and seven of them are right. I think these road courses provide more exciting NASCAR races than some ovals, including Indianapolis. Let the arguing begin.
The only story of note involves the No. 88 and who will be behind the wheel. That would be Jeff Gordon, who comes out of retirement to run Indianapolis and Watkins Glen while Dale Earnhardt Jr. recovers from the effects of his latest concussion. Shaky balance and some nausea are what he needs to overcome, but while that is happening Gordon will run his 798th and 799th career races.
When I heard that the track was selected to host the jam band Phish for their Magnaball festival just a couple of weeks after the big NASCAR race weekend this summer I decided that I needed to see how the track facilities would be used for such an event due to the significant differences in the events. The festival was a three-day event that had one main theme; Phish and their music.
It was, for the most part, a race about nothing. This is not to say that Watkins Glen was boring, for it was actually one of those pleasant occurrences where we had an event that actually was entertaining enough to keep us watching. The damndest things can happen on a road course, and they did.