The NASCAR Pinty’s Series will compete in one of its two street course races at Exhibition Place in Downtown Toronto on Saturday afternoon but the discipline has been notoriously absent from the three national tours.
Despite road courses having some of the most-compelling and entertaining races in NASCAR, some of the more action-packed tracks across the globe (think SUPERCARS) have been on city streets, so why hasn’t NASCAR looked at more street circuits for its three national touring series?
“I don’t know why, it’s strange, really,” said Andrew Ranger, currently third in Pinty’s points. “I do think they need to maybe build more road course (specific) cars — they maybe just have two cars for Sonoma and Watkins Glen.”
Teams have multiple cars for multiple types of tracks in NASCAR but a road course car would be easy to convert to a street course car with mostly suspension modifications needed for the slants in the streets.
The weight is admittedly a challenge too. Pinty cars weight roughly 300 less pounds and have 200 less horsepower. Maybe, it’s simply a topic that needs to be addressed once the next generation of Cup and Xfinity cars are designed. But remember that stock cars are supposed to be based on road machines, and what a better way to showcase win on Sunday and sell on Monday than street racing.
Access for city dwellers would allow more people to get closer to the racing action. That has been the argument in the Verizon IndyCar Series for many years in favor of street races in locales like Long Beach, Toronto, Detroit and St. Petersburg.
“I think it’s easier to get the fans in, it’s easier to reach a lot of companies to get sponsorships, that’s what really helped us in our careers,” said series points leader L. P. Dumoulin. “So why, it’s hard for me to say but I would love to see more of them. You can see in IMSA in the WeatherTech series, there’s a lot of [street circuits] and the fans love them.”
Dumoulin opined that Detroit would be an ideal choice for a street circuit, given the city’s automotive heritage but there are other cities that would be ideal.
“I think [Detroit] would be a great place to start with as well as you go down to Miami, you can reach a big crowd there. Yeah, could be a good thing in Miami, too. Long Beach would be a great one as well,” added Dumoulin.
Second in Pinty’s points Cole Powell has never competed at a street circuit but is looking forward to the transitions between asphalt and concrete and how different street course racing is from road course racing.
“I think it would be a pretty big benefit,” said Powell. “I know that Toronto’s put a lot of time and effort into making this street course. I think if NASCAR did it like at downtown Charlotte or even Las Vegas or something like that I think it would be pretty cool, I think fans would really engage with it and I definitely don’t think it would hurt it at all so why not?”
“If they bring me to a board meeting, you know what I’m going to vote for.”