First off, let me say I am primarily a fan of NASCAR/stock car racing, but I do enjoy and appreciate open-wheel racing, especially Formula One (when I am actually able to see one on TV).
Having said that, I find that I much prefer seeing races on ovals much more than road courses. In my humble opinion, races on oval tracks are more exciting because there seems to be more opportunities for cars passing one another. Too often, races I see on road courses offer little chance for lead changes. The pole sitter generally takes the lead and stays there, barring an accident, a mechanical breakdown, or a bad pit stop.
As I said, I cut my teeth on the NASCAR/oval track style, so my view is naturally biased to some extent. I would love to get the thoughts of the auto racing fans around the world, particularly those who follow F1 and/or CART/IRL.
I follow CART quite religiously and would have to heartily disagree. I’m of the opposite opinion: I think the road courses are far more interesting. I think the leads actually change more often.
I think this is because drafting is used so much more in NASCAR than with Indy cars. You don’t see much of that on the CART or IRL circuits.
With ovals, and I’m thinking primarily of Indy, but also the Michigan 500, I generally nap through the middle third of the race, then wake up again for the sprint to the end. Just a bunch of guys following each other around in a circle. Feh.
Let me get a chance to see 'em steer up and down small inclines, around blind corners through wrecks, and over changing conditions. My favorites – besides the hometown track at Mid-Ohio – would be the converted tracks, the street courses. The Cleveland and Detroit races are always exciting – there’s less wrecking room too. So when they crash, there’s always a chance somebody could flip over a wall and into a big lake, or better yet, straight into the crowd.
When the Miami race was downtown, before they moved it out to Homestead (oval track), I once saw an Indy Lights car flip over a 12-foot chain link fence straight into a pile of spectators. Miraculously, not a single person was seriously injured! Now when I go to races, I try to sit close to the track, but remain prepared to bolt at any second!
Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about…
P.S. I had no idea that NASCAR even had road courses. I thought they were all ovals…
>>P.S. I had no idea that NASCAR even had road courses. I thought they were all ovals…<<
Actually, there are 2-3 road course events in a given NASCAR season. In recent years thes have taken place at Watkins Glen, NY and Sears Point, CA.
Re: the OP, I prefer NASCAR to open-wheel racing in general, mainly due to the closer racing and greater parity among teams. Then there’s that endearing habit of declaring cautions for “debris on the track” that seem to occur whenever one driver appears to be running away with the race, heh heh heh. Nevertheless, even on the road courses, where full-course cautions are rare, NASCAR races tend to be more even than most open-wheel events.
Of course many object to the heavy-handed restraints on technology that NASCAR practices, but I imagine Formula One suits that crowd just fine.
Sure, open-wheel racers are boring on ovals. NASCAR racers are constantly bumping and scraping each other trying to pass–at 200 mph.
You wanna talk about spectacular wrecks? At Daytona and Talladega (2.5 and 2.66 mile ovals, respectively) cars get airborne at 200 mph, flip over ten or so times (bouncing off the roofs of other cars), bounce up into the catch fence and are thrown back onto the track. And people walk away from those (e.g. Tony Stewart, 2001 Daytona 500)…of course, people also get hurt pretty bad (e.g. Dale Earnhardt and Ernie Irvan several times at Talladega), but drivers almost never get killed in that type of thing (because of the slow deceleration–it’s the quick stops that kill you [Earnhardt, 2001 Daytona 500]). Open-wheel cars aren’t as fun in rollovers (e.g. Greg Moore’s death)
It’s a dissapointing NASCAR superspeedway race when you don’t see a 3400-pound car dive into the grassy infield at 190 mph to miss an 18-car pileup, then get back on the track in the next corner and keep going
I wish I’d been around back in the good ol’ days, when the NASCAR race at Daytona was actually on Daytona Beach and if you weren’t careful you’d end up in the ocean when you wrecked :eek: (Ned Jarrett, Daytona, 1954)
That’s nothing. Formula One driver Ascari ended up in the Monaco Harbour during the 1955 Monte Carlo GP.
I’m a serious Formula One fan. Count me among the road course proponents. Overtaking is more sporadic, but it means more. Juan Pablo Montoya overtaking Michael Schumacher in the first corner during the last Brasilian GP… breathtaking stuff. RIGHT on the edge.
I’ll watch anything with wheels. Mostly NASCAR and CART though. (Little else gets televised for me.) I like to watch stock cars race ovals and indy-styles race road courses… they’re different types of racing that do better on different types of tracks. (I didn’t say “open wheels” because I also watch dirt-trackers. Outlaws would suck on road courses!)
As long as it’s fast and doesn’t have a muffler, I’m there.
All began at O’HARE STADIUM in the late 50s.
Chi. built a ROAD course. Opening day. Lance Reventlow.
Drag strips–Chi. and Denver areas.
Motorcycles, demolition at Ascot.
The new complex in Vegas.
Carts in Santa Maria.
I prefer road courses, myself. Cars and drivers have to do more things well, and that seems to add a bit more complexity to a race. I am losing a bit of interest in Formula 1, though. They just seem to have taken everything to such a high degree of refinement that after the first corner there aren’t very many surprises left.
No one’s mentioned sports cars and endurance racing. I’d love to see the 24 Hours of Le Mans someday.
And in western Germany is the Nurburgring. It is to road courses what Wagner is to opera, and it’s open to the public.
No matter the type of car, I prefer road courses to ovals. I agree with Dogzilla, unless there is a crash or near-crash, watching the middle of an major oval race is like watching golf. However, when I used to live in the US I’d go to my local 1/4 mile oval dirt track every weekend for some good cheap entertainment. What I’d really like to see on TV is far more coverage of the World Rally Championship. Now that’s drivin’!
Touring car racing has plenty of overtaking and whats more the cars look, on the outside, largely like the stuff you could go out and buy yourself(OK so there is a world of differance in engine, tyres suspension and transmission)
There is plenty of pushing and shoving, lots of heated moments between drivers, retaliations intimidations but its rare to see any serious injuries.
Bike racing, especially using the onboard cameras has top be about the most spectacular and exciting high speed sport there is, unfortunately its pretty dangerous, sometimes you can hardly bear to watch.
No one’s mentioned the SPEEDVISION network???
Alone, it’s worth the price of cable.
Mark me down for road racing, but not open-wheeled.
NASCAR does nothing for me…go fast, turn left. The racing is exciting, very fast, and very close; but, the driving leaves something to be desired…shifting, braking, and steering are minimal.
F1/CART/Indy has unreal speed and handling, but not enough passing for me.
I try to keep up with the American LeMans Series, SpeedVision’s World Challenge, GrandAm, and British Touring.
SpeedVision’s WC is especially competitive. It’s not unusual to see a Viper, BMW, Corvette, Audi, and NSX running in the top five.
kferr is right about rallies. Where else can you see a car leave the course at 80mph, plow through several saplings, roll up an embankment, overturn, and keep racing!
CART fan here. I watch some F1 but tend to avoid NASCAR and IRL. And I’ll agree–in F1 there’s not much passing at all but rather follow the leader. I’m getting to where I don’t care for it as much as I used to. And what’s this “Juan Pablo” garbage? A year ago he was merely “Juan.” Guess he’s all hoity toity now. S’okay–I’m an Andretti/C. Fittipaldi/da Matta/Vasser fan.
In any case, roads, roads, roads! Ovals are good enough and fun enough to watch, but the real entertainment is to be had on the road courses. And if you watch CART, there’s still lots of passing to be had. Outstanding! Although it was cruel of CART to tease us back there early on. One race, then no more for a month! Ouch!