By Jerry Bonkowski
Jun 24, 2011
I admit, I used to absolutely hate NASCAR racing on road courses.
To me, it was like putting oil and vinegar together, they just were not a good mix in my mind.
But as time has gone on, my mindset has changed. Having road courses on the Sprint Cup schedule, like this Sunday's race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., or in August at New York's Watkins Glen International, have actually become great changes of pace during the 36-race schedule.
The transition of mindset and strategy from "go straight, turn left" for most races to twisting and turning at Infineon and Watkins Glen has become a real challenge for most Sprint Cup drivers. And while some may still grumble from time to time that they don't like racing on road courses, fans in those two locales sure seem to enjoy it.
For, if the fans wouldn't come out and support NASCAR racing in their own backyards, even if it is on a road course, they soon wouldn't have NASCAR racing in those same backyards.
I've been to both tracks several times and while I don't like to play favorites, Infineon is my more favorite of the two in terms of the challenge it presents. There's the aesthetics of the track and surrounding area, all the off-track things you can do during the race weekend – like wine-tasting, sight-seeing in nearby San Francisco, etc. – and the competition seems a bit more elevated than racing at its New York counterpart.
Over the years, many fans have written to or told me how much they don't like road course racing, that they don't feel it "fits" into NASCAR's overall style of racing, that oval racing is where it's at and where it should be when it comes to Sprint Cup competition.
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