Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why watch? I'll tell you why!

To many NASCAR fans, the upcoming Corona Mexico 200 from Mexico City is a non-event, making this weekend an "off weekend" for the average racing fan.
But what should the racing fan do this Sunday, without a NASCAR Sprint Cup Race on the agenda? I would say, open your mind, widen your horizons, and watch the race, you just might like it.
Sure, it is not the oval track racing that you enjoy, but keep in mind that NASCAR road course racing is like no other in North America. Unlike the 2200 lb sports cars of the Rolex Grand Am and the ALMS, or the 1200 lb cars of the IRL and Formula 1, the NASCAR machines are heavy 3400 lb beasts that are not specifically engineered to run on road courses. The usually means the same amount of beating and banging you see at Martinsville or Richmond, with the cars running close as close to each other as they would at a restrictor plate race such as Talladega or Daytona. They often run each other off the course, and there is nothing like the sight of six or seven cars simultaniously spinning in the grass, often described as "synchronized spinning. So, yes, there is something to watch.
Are you worried about not seeing the drivers you are used to seeing? For those of you who hate the idea of Cup drivers invading the realm of the Nationwide drivers, only Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, David Ragan, Carl Edwards, Patrick Carpentier,Sam Hornish, Jr, and David Reutimann will represent that group. For those who want to see Cup drivers in a Nationwide Series road course race, those seven drivers are on the entry list.
Drivers we are used to seeing in the NASCAR road course races, such as Scott Pruitt, and Adrian Fernandez, and Boris Said will be there as well. Max Papis will be making his Nationwide Series debut, as the designated road course hitter for David Stremme. And of course, the Mexican National racing heros, Michael Jourdain, Antonio Perez, and Jose Ruiz Ramirez are on the entry list. Other than that, the majority of the field is made up of Nationwide Series regulars.
In fact, the highly popular, ever smiling, and eternally optimistic Marcos Ambrose has a very good chance of winning the race. He came close to winning at Montreal last year, and would have had it not been for Robby Gordon having a not-so-lucid moment. Robby Gordon is in Europe, participating in the make-up race for the cancelled Dakar Rally, so Ambrose will have no problem there. His experience in the Australian V8 Supercar Series, which uses cars similar to the Ameridan Stock cars, could come in handy in Mexico City. He is considered a favorite to win.
There are many reasons to not watch the race--if you really want to do that to yourself--including not one, but two indycar races taking place over the weekend. But, as a NASCAR fan, wouldn't you have just a hint of a nagging feeling if you missed the Mexico City race?

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