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NASCAR tries something new at the Charlotte roval

Eric Rood October 2, 2018 Motorsports 15 Comments

While it wasn’t pretty or tidy or anything of the sort, NASCAR raced on the Charlotte Motor Speedway “roval.” And guess what? It was completely and totally watchable.

Unsurprisingly, the defining moments turned out to be:

1) Half of the Top 10 missing the Turn 1 braking point on a restart, then piling into the wall.

2) The leader getting taken out at the chicane well within sight of the checkered flag.

But beyond the predictable outcomes — road racing a 3,500-pound car with 900 horsepower on a course with no runoff ain’t easy — the important thing is that NASCAR tried something new and it seemed, perhaps, to have worked after years of reduced interest in the same ol’ thing.

So what’s next? A real street circuit? NASCAR rallycross?

[Source: ]

  • Fred

    What makes it fun to watch NASCAR on road courses, is that they do it all wrong. 2 even 3 wide thru a corner, that’s just nuts. Passing on the outside of the corner while leaning on your opponent, can’t do that in open wheel cars. Then again, sometimes it just get to be too much of a crash fest.

  • JayP

    We can hope someone in NASCAR has watched V8 Supercars.

    • Fred

      Or British Touring cars. Both of those series have great racing and just the right amount of rubbing.

      • outback_ute

        They are very different there, V8SC is very tight on , but BTCC lets go some amazing (to me) ‘push to pass’ moves. As in push the guy in front out of the way.

      • crank_case

        On a vaguely related note, back in 1961, Dan Gurney showed up in BTCC in a near stock Impala and the brits spat out their tea before throwing their toys out of the pram…

    • GTXcellent

      Uh, no – if you want to watch a touring series, watch a touring series.
      (warning, grumpy old man take ahead)

      NASCAR is was great because it was so different from all the other more “worldly” racing series. The strategies, the lines, the passing, everything so very very different from road racing. To each his own (and I’m guessing I’m in the minority here) but I can’t stand to watch road racing. I’ve tried – just cannot get into it.

      NASCAR has a SLEW of problems right now, and this gimmicky ROVAL they did last weekend did nothing to alleviate anything. The series BADLY needs to sell and move on from this generation of the France family. They’ve done nothing but alienate the long-term fans in chasing after the flighty new ones (who quickly move on to something else).

      Ok smart guy, so what would you do to fix it? Right now the racing sucks. It’s become so aero-dependent that what made stock car racing no longer exists. Get the cars less aerodynamic! Raise them up off the ground. Raise the rake of the windshield. Seems to me that with today’s wind tunnel tech, they could set a minimum drag coefficient and let teams work with those parameters. Get back to bias-ply tires – in the “olden days” the tires would wear out very predictably – not with radials. The other major issue I have is that the series now focuses on the championship instead of individual races. Screw that – if you have to have a champion, then fine, the guy who wins the most races is champ.

      It’ll never happen, and I’m afraid that stock car racing is probably headed for an automotive afterthought.

      • crank_case

        Raise the right height? More upright? Sounds like what they should do is base stock cars on SUVs rather than a vaguely two door saloon shaped thing that hasn’t been seen in a showroom since about 1995. Might put a few noses out of joint, but lets face it, it’d make stock cars relevant to what people buy now, just like big saloons were a thing in the 60s.

        Couple of Escalades/Suburbans/Expeditions/whatever Toyotas making for the US rolling round an oval taking chunks out of each other would be pretty amusing.

        • Vairship

          Maybe a minivan race? 😉

      • JayP

        NASCAR may be doomed but at least give a parting shot.
        Ford won’t have sedans in the US soon. Chrysler? GM?
        TransAm has a good method for now.

  • Lokki

    I don’t know if NASCAR can be saved. They have become a standard chassis silhouette series so that the cars themselves no longer have any attraction; they are just trolleys to carry around personalities. However, I’m not away of any real, interesting, ‘personalities’ among the current batch of drivers. To be far, I gave up on NASCAR quite a few years back, but no one I can think of has managed to shine brightly enough to be noticed outside the sport.

    So, boring racing with boring drivers that means nothing till the last 20 laps in a boring series where everything that has happened all season is discarded for the last 10 (?) races.

    Good luck to them.

    • crank_case

      I feel similarly about the chassis shilloutte thing among a lot of race series to be fair. DTM cars have no relation to road cars now, V8 supercars went down the next gen touring car nonsense route, and even series like BTCC which are closer to road cars still adopt TCR type standards with control components.

      What really boggles my mind is that this is all sold as keeping these series “cost effective” for manufacturers and I’m not entirely sure how a purpose built race car is cheaper than sticking a roll cage and some mods in a stock car, the stock part being totally lost.

      It seems to me that manufacturers want their cake and eat it, they don’t want to make kick ass road cars, but still want to roll in, be competitive and not have their car shown up for the soggy shopping trolley it is. I reckon the governing bodies of these sports need to tell the manufacturers to stop being big crybabies and if they want to win in stock/touring car racing, they need to build a base car that’s up to the job.

      Bring back homologation specials and Group A!

  • Zentropy

    It’s a dead sport. It’s fossilized with (mandated) outdated technology and zero relevance to production vehicles. At one time, it was hugely influential, but that was decades ago.

  • crank_case

    Nascar rallycross would be going back to its roots in a way given it started on dirt ovals and they used to race on the beach in Daytona.

    • Vairship

      Or just smuggling moonshine across the mountain roads again.

  • I’m bored with all the silhouette racing series including F1 and Indy Cars and Nascar. Make Nascar real stock cars. Race real Camaros, Mustangs, Challengers, Chargers and what ever else in an original first series Trans-Am kind of way. I understand that racing 900HP push rod engined bricks 200mph takes a lot of skill but the old real stock cars took a lot of talent, too.