Monday, December 21, 2009

NASCAR says goodbye to the Milwaukee Mile as they return to Road America 2010.

As if the Danica Patrick news was enough for the NASCAR community (fans, media, drivers, teams & owners) to get a grip on, today NASCAR announced that they will continue its 17-year streak of racing on a national-series level in Wisconsin by racing at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn track known as Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. on Saturday June 19th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010.

“We’re excited to be staying in Wisconsin and racing in front of the passionate fans there at a historic venue that’s new to our NASCAR Nationwide Series,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s vice president of racing operations.”

“It’s a really great race track,” Menard said. “It’s in a very picturesque setting in the Wisconsin countryside. It has every kind of corner you can imagine. When I was a kid, my dad would take me to Road America. The fans love it there. By the second practice, I’m sure everyone will be up to speed because the drivers are so good in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Braking will be the hardest aspect. Strategy will play a big part in this race. I’m really excited about (the series) running there.”

“Road America is a very unique track that will provide great racing and will test driver skill and ability on what is a very large course,” said Joe Balash, director of the NASCAR Nationwide Series. “And yes, we’ll be prepared to race in the rain if necessary,” he said, in reference to the series’ last two races in wet weather in Montreal. The 2008 event was the first NASCAR national series points race contested in the rain.” – (Quotes from NASCAR PR)

Of course this comes after news that the historical Milwaukee Mile will not be on the 2010 NASCAR schedule. I have to say that I liked the Milwaukee Mile for its challenges; there is no other racetrack on the NASCAR Nationwide Schedule that is a real flat track like this one was. The Milwaukee Mile will be missed. Short-track racing is a huge part of NASCAR and hate to see another leave, but hopefully NASCAR will find another short-track for them to go to, however at least we have the addition of Iowa Speedway which located 320 miles away.

In the same context, road racing is how NASCAR started in the first place on the beaches in Daytona and I have always wanted another road course added to the NASCAR schedule, but racing at Road America is only for the Nationwide Series, but what the Sprint Cup Series?

Road America will join the two other road course races on the Nationwide Series schedule in 2010, of course I’m talking about Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal Canada and Watkins Glen in New York. But one thing still bothers me, why did NASCAR pick Road America when NASCAR has wanted to race in the Northwest for some time now, why didn’t they pick Portland International Raceway?

Well I will be interested in see what the NASCAR Nationwide Series can do racing wise at a 4 mile road course of Road America that is by far the longest race track any of NASCAR national series will race on in 2010, that should be interesting. By the way in case you were wondering, NASCAR has raced at Road America before, on Aug. 12, 1956, Tim Flock won the only other NASCAR national series race, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, at the then one-year-old track.

I wonder which road course ringer will race at Road America in 2010 in a Nationwide Series racecar?