NASCAR at Watkins Glen leaves fans begging for more road courses

NASCAR needs more road courses. The proof is always in the pudding with a great turnout and excellent reviews across social media from fans across the globe.

The itch was always going to be scratched, though, when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers were going to be turning right in the ‘I Love NEW YORK 355’ race at Watkins Glen.

After his win last week in Pocono, Kyle Busch was on the pole for the third consecutive week and was looking for another victory. It was always going to be chaotic, interesting and tremendous amounts of fun as these drivers showed us why NASCAR road races are always a phenomenal experience.

Erik Jones was also doing well in this first stage after spending some time at this track for a driving school a few weeks ago. When drivers go to those sorts of lengths in order to improve and do as well as possible, you know that road courses are going to be stunning to watch and will leave fans wanting more.

The dynamics for how a road course is run is very different to the ovals and it’s often seen that drivers will sink or they’ll swim. As a driver, you’re either great at road courses, or you’re not. However, practice does make perfect and Erik Jones was the case in point with his performance.

Not only that, but drivers have openly come out and endorsed the idea of more road courses. Kevin Harvick was quite vocal about this when he was asked how NASCAR could increase its popularity and continue to grow as a sport. Harvick said that NASCAR needs a “total makeover” – which should include more road courses.

Harvick went on to make the point that fans of all motorsports can relate to NASCAR’s road courses because it’s familiar to people – from Formula One to Moto GP and everything in between. If that’s what it takes to hook a new fan so that they progress onto watching the oval races, then NASCAR absolutely needs more road courses.

Harvick said that NASCAR needs a “total makeover” – which should include more road courses. He then went on to make the point that fans of all motorsports can relate to NASCAR’s road courses because it’s familiar to people – from Formula One to Moto GP and everything in between. If that’s what it takes to hook a new fan so that they progress onto watching the oval races, then NASCAR absolutely needs more road courses.

The start of Stage three at Watkins Glen saw a wreck between strong road course racers – Keselowski and Busch – who both span out. Keselowski had no idea that Busch was there, but Busch was not happy and threatened to “get him” if he caught up with him.

The rivalry displayed between both drivers was merely a continuation from 2012, 2013 and 2016. Incidents like this get fans talking. Especially when Kyle Busch is such a controversial driver in terms of polarising people to either love or hate him. It’s also common for Busch fans to hate Keselowski.

It’s also common for Busch fans to hate Keselowski. So the discussions, tweets, forums and groups blow up when things like this happen year on year between the same two drivers who are well-known to dislike one another. This could also reel new fans in who want to know what all the fuss is about – and that’s never a bad thing.

With the race winding down, crew chiefs were frantically calculating whether their drivers would make it to the end of the race or whether they’d be short on fuel. Drivers have always tried to stretch fuel at this track and that always puts fans on the edges of their seats.

Drivers would give a kingdom for a thimble-full of fuel but Truex managed to win his first ever Watkins Glen race by four tenths of a second after doing his best to save fuel. He literally ran out as he crossed the finish line in an absolutely epic battle between himself and second place Kenseth who missed out on the win by a whisker.

Thankfully, Truex had just enough fuel to be able to do an impressive burnout. Fans love a white-knuckled, tense finish where anything could happen. And that’s the beauty of road courses in NASCAR: Anything can happen.

When NASCAR does road courses, it is an undeniably awesome experience. It’s a real treat for fans and drivers alike as they get to break free of left-turn only oval tracks.

Does NASCAR need more road courses? Absolutely. However, even if more road courses don’t get brought into the mix, at least we have Watkins Glen and Sonoma to look forward to. On top of that, NASCAR finally added a road course to the playoffs – so there’s always that to wait for with baited breath in the coming weeks.