Sprint Cup: Watkins Glen Odds & Ends – One of the things that makes Formula One racing successful is the commitment the series expects from its viewing constituency. Races typically conclude in a two-hour window, and when it seems that might not be the case, due to weather, an accident, or some other issue, F1 switches to a timed format. Might this kind of practice be suitable for NASCAR?
The airing of the Cup race at Watkins Glen seemed to last more than four hours. The two red flags, the first lasting nearly and hour-and-a-half, and the second lasting over twenty minutes, means that there was nearly two hours of non-racing. What makes this aspect interesting is that on NASCAR’s race report it makes no mention of the red flags and instead lists the race as lasting two hours and twenty six minutes.
It’s convenient that the governing body didn’t want to remind its fans or the media of how much time was wasted watching interviews and filler.
A second concern that arose, yet again, was how Watkins Glen needs to address how safe its track is. Ryan Newman, involved in the first red-flag wreck, called the place “antiquated.” This issue is not one that is solely tied to the Glen, as a number of tracks could stand to install safer barriers in more places (looking at you Las Vegas and Talladega), and bring a better focus towards driver safety. Watkins Glen had at least tried to improve safety in some parts, but it seems that it’s not enough.
Maybe that rich new TV contract will help out the “poor” tracks and their parenting companies take care of business. Huston Ladner
Nationwide: Marcos Ambrose Going Away Party? – Saturday afternoon was his first and only Nationwide Series race of the season, and he made it count by leading the most laps and grabbing his fifth career road course win. Ambrose is rumored to be leaving NASCAR after the season, and if he does, Saturday he provided one last impression of what he should be remembered for.
His duel with Kyle Busch, which also included them spinning earlier and nearly ending their day, was the highlight of the Zippo 200. But Ambrose was not about to let the winningest driver in the series get one from him, as he looked for some practice and motivation ahead of Sunday’s big Cup event and a spot in the Chase.
And speaking of Cup, Ambrose led the way for Cup drivers as the top 5 consisted of drivers who earn their paychecks on Sunday. Then came point leader and super rookie Chase Elliott in sixth, a finish that extended his lead on teammate Regan Smith. The No. 9 team is leaving one road course and heading to another with just as much to celebrate as Ambrose.
But it was the Tasmanian who took home the trophy, one last celebration and the honor of helping produce great road course racing. Kelly Crandall
Sports Cars: 2015 Scheduled – This past weekend at Road America, IMSA announced the 2015 schedules for both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSC), much earlier than last season. Compared to 2014, the schedule is slightly condensed.