Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Mailbox: More ROVALs or More Real Road Courses in the Future?

This past weekend, the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway provided us with some great entertainment and an amazing finish. NASCAR fans have begged for more road courses on the schedule and this was the first time at the ROVAL.

It did not disappoint at all, but the question here is should we see more ROVALs or are real road courses the answer to the “more road courses” debate going on?

Meanwhile, the Big Three of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. have all been well and alive all season long. The first three races of the playoffs provided excellent racing and great entertainment for us to watch, but in two of those three the Big Three were locked out of Victory Lane.

Even though we saw a 1-2-3 finish from them at Richmond, is the idea of the Big Three slowly dying out or have we just not seen the best of them throughout these playoffs just yet?

Q: After seeing the ROVAL race this past weekend, would you like to see more of them or more natural road courses? Andrea T., Los Angeles, CA

A: As entertaining as the ROVAL race was at Charlotte, I would like to see more races on natural road courses. There are so many throughout this country that should hold Cup races and they could have a successful turnout.

Tracks like Road America, Road Atlanta and even a track outside of this country, Circuit Gilles-Villanueve, are tracks that I could see holding a Cup race and putting on a solid event. These tracks, with the exception of Road Atlanta, have all hosted XFINITY races before and Road America still does. This type of racing is extremely successful and entertaining.

If you put the Cup Series on road courses like that, you will see the entertainment that is currently part of the XFINITY Series. Most drivers in Cup have not been to these tracks, and we saw how that turned out this past weekend at the ROVAL. When drivers are forced to race in conditions they are not familiar with, some exciting racing tends to ensue.

Going to true road courses would provide some of the great entertainment we saw at the ROVAL. It may not be the exact same since teams would have data from some of these other tracks, but these courses would still be capable of producing some exciting racing.

Multiple ROVALs on the same schedule would not be a good thing, but going to different ROVALs each year could be. I would be all for gracing at Pocono’s ROVAL one year, then Texas’ ROVAL the next, then Charlotte again, and so on.

One ROVAL a year is optimal. Multiple ROVALs in one year would make it less unique. It is similar to dirt in the Truck Series. If they put more than one dirt track on the schedule, it would take away from the event at Eldora.

Fans begged for more short tracks and more road courses and the brand new circuit at Charlotte that didn’t disappoint. We will see what NASCAR does in the future in regards to this.

Q: Have the Big Three in the Cup Series died out in a way or could we still consider Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Truex just that as we are well into the playoffs now? Maggie P., Chicago, IL

A: While I wouldn’t say the Big Three have died out, I do believe the field has caught up as the Playoffs have developed. They should still be considered the Big Three, but as we approach the closing races this season, we might see the field become closer than ever and they may not have the advantage they have had all season.

Richmond was the first race in which we saw Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., finish 1-2-3 this year, which comes as a bit of surprise given their strength all year. The other two first round races were filled with action and were two insane races that nobody was safe at. Many wrecks and incidents led to a mix up in the field that did not allow any one of the three to really be up front too much.

There is part of me that believes they are all going to stay as strong as they have been throughout these final seven races. However, they will not be as far ahead of the field as they were the first 26 before the playoffs began.

It is very difficult to pick a championship favorite after the first round, though. Going into the playoffs, you would think one of the Big Three had an excellent chance to show their strength, and after the Round of 16, we would see who is the favorite. Frankly, it’s not quite as clear as it was prior to Las Vegas.

Kyle Busch did win Richmond but his other two races were not stellar at all. Brad Keselowski may actually be a step ahead of everyone at this point. After winning the opening race at Las Vegas, he had the lead late at Richmond, and then again had the lead on that late caution at the ROVAL … that was until the late wreck. He might be the favorite now, and he was not even in the discussion as a championship favorite.

There is reason to believe there will not be any more dominant group of cars the rest of the season. With races like Talladega, Martinsville and a new layout at ISM, there is no telling what will happen and these events could provide opportunities for others to steal a win.

This weekend at Dover may see either Busch, Harvick or Truex win and it would not surprise anyone. With this being the playoffs though, we could see someone else pose a challenge or the field could continue to close the gap. Either way, this will be a very good ending to the season and it will be interesting to see if this idea of a Big Three stays or disintegrates.

About the author


Brandon is a 22-year-old from NY and has been a passionate follower of motorsports for 14 years now. He recently graduated from Molloy College on Long Island with a BA in Communications. Working within NASCAR has been a dream for Brandon for a while, and he hopes to be able to live out the dream in the very near future.

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Nancy Eddy

NO road courses! I don’t think I was watching the same race at Charlotte. It was horrible to me. Too many stupid accidents. Boring!

Tom Pearson

The Roval was great racing, however it is unique and should stay that way. The only other I would look at is the existing infield course at Daytona which has history behind it. The great thing about the Roval as opposed to traditional road course is that fans can see the whole track from their seats, that is never the case at natural road courses.

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