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Old 25 Oct 2002, 05:50 (Ref:412875)   #1
Joe Fan
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Joe Fan should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridJoe Fan should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
NASCAR fans interest in NASCAR's other interest

As you may be aware, NASCAR owns the Grand-Am road racing series which has the Daytona 24 Hours as its crown jewel event. I wonder what interest the average NASCAR fan would have in this series which emphasizes non-factory sports car teams with attempts by the series to level the playing field.

I like the concept of this series as it seems to address the issues that have caused other sports car series to fail.

NASCAR has the bucks and marketing expertise to grow this series as well as the ability to create road courses in the infield of most of their (ISC) tracks a 1.5-mile or bigger.

Now, what do you think would be the level of interest of the average NASCAR in seeing a Chevrolet Corvette go up against a Ford Mustang ala the Trans-Am series of the late 60's and 70's along with an exotic sports car class? Or is this what the current Trans-Am and American Le Mans series is for?
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 11:32 (Ref:413037)   #2
Lee Roy
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I don't think that a series that features Corvettes, Mustangs and the like would be all that popular. The thing that drives popularity in NASCAR is the drivers, not the equipment.
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 11:45 (Ref:413055)   #3
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muggle not should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridmuggle not should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Grand Am has 5 major classes (also 2 minor). Their turnout has been pretty dismal. In their last race not many cars were entered:
SRP - 3
SRPII - 1
GTS - 3
GT - 7
AGT - 4

They have a long ways to go to compete with ALMS.
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 12:04 (Ref:413077)   #4
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The 24 hours of Daytona is a pretty cool event. It seems fairly full of competition. But it seems to be alot of drivers pulled from the different series, & who wouldn't be available to race in it fulltime.

I am wondering if the "rules" are as wishywashie as the NASCAR rulles are. With that many classes, it could get crazy.
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 13:07 (Ref:413164)   #5
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Its a shame. I like both the Grand Am for the focus on non-manufacturer teams and I also enjoy seeing Audi and Panoz battling in the ALMS (even though it has been a bit one sided).

The problem comes from the fact that the hard core sportscar fan wants to see the pedigreed manufacturers all duelling. However, the manufacturers cannot be trusted to stay in the series. Most chicken out when the competition gets hot. The Grand Am addresses this but the fans have not embraced the series.

Sportscar racing is not like NASCAR which is driver oriented. The car is a huge part of the equation in sportscar racing because they are so exotic. I like to see both personally.
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 13:31 (Ref:413184)   #6
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Originally posted by Roselady3
I am wondering if the "rules" are as wishywashie as the NASCAR rulles are. With that many classes, it could get crazy.
Generally, the rules in sports car racing make the rules in NASCAR racing look simple and iron-clad. In stock car racing, NASCAR mostly just nibbles around the edges with a 1/4 inch here and a 1/2 inch there.

In sports car racing, you have a witches brew of rules for different cars within a single class. Rules such as different weights, different fuel tank sizes and air intake resrtictions. I recall one of the best season battles in sports car racing was in the late 1990's in the FIA GT series. Mercedes and Porsche were both competing in the top class with some of the most exotic cars I have ever seen. With the exception of Le Mans, the Mercedes always triumphed over the Porsche. Through the year, the organizers were constantly adding weight to the Mercedes and sometimes making them reduce the capacity of the fuel tank. Porsche was screaming to have their air intake restriction increased.

Can you imagine if NASCAR made the Chevy's use an 18 gallon fuel tank and add 400 pounds of weight. You'd never hear the end of it.

And KC is completely correct. Fans of Sports Car racing come to see the cars, not the drivers like in NASCAR. They like best the exotic factory hot-rods.

I've attended the Daytona 24 a couple of times, and intend to do Le Mans at least once before I die.

Last edited by Lee Roy; 25 Oct 2002 at 13:34.
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 13:59 (Ref:413222)   #7
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I love racing
I don't really care for road courses
Corvettes vs Mustangs vs Vipers, etc would be an interesting concept to me but my true love for racing is rooted in the ovals.
"Stock" cars have a certain draw that the sports cars wouldn't have.
Most people don't own sports cars but the majority own "family" cars.
I own a 2001 Ford Taurus myself, I got the best deal on it.
I like it that my car resembles the racecars on the NASCAR tracks.
I have been looking at the silver Intrepids too, lol.
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I still say. "NASCAR, let the bad boys be BAD !!!"
Take the reins off Tony Stewart & Kevin Harvick !
Bring back the attitude of aggresive racing !
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 14:48 (Ref:413284)   #8
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muggle not should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridmuggle not should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
The most exciting racing today is in the Speed World Challlenge series, both the GT and Touring Classes.
Check out the series website:
http://www.speedvisionwc.com/
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 15:07 (Ref:413301)   #9
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Originally posted by muggle not
The most exciting racing today is in the Speed World Challlenge series, both the GT and Touring Classes.
Check out the series website:
http://www.speedvisionwc.com/
I got to see them practice at the ALMS race in DC. I must say that the GT class is far more impressive in person than comes across on the TV. Those cars really move.

What types of rules do they have to offset the differences between manufacturers? I have heard of weight rules and rev limiters. Do they also use air intake restrictions?
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 17:55 (Ref:413472)   #10
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Joe Fan should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridJoe Fan should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
I think Grand-Am has untapped potential but the main thing that holds road racing down in the U.S. in my opinion, is the fact that the average fan wants to see most of the track like they would on an oval.

While standing in line during a NASCAR driver autograph session, I overheard a lady say how disappointed she was when she went to see a race at the Brickyard because she could only see one section of the track. She liked Kansas Speedway much better because she could see the whole track. This in essence is why NASCAR has become so successful. They race cars that average person can identify with on tracks where they can see all the action.

Many road race fans criticize NASCAR for its low tech formula racing predominately on ovals but the low tech nature keepst costs down and the majority of the fans want to see all the action if they attend a race. If racing on road courses was a big moneymaker, the France family would surely have more road course events on the Winston Cup schedule. The Grand-Am series is an attempt by the France family to go a different route to create a successful road racing series. I think having road course races in the infield of these 1.5-mile tracks provideas a spectator the opportunity to see more of the action than your traditional road course.
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 19:23 (Ref:413547)   #11
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I like road racing. BUT when you go to a road race, you know from the beginning that you won't be able to see the whole track. You feel more free to walk around and enjoy the "event " other than sitting in one spot. Isn't the Grand-Am Series the one who runs at VIR? Do they also run at Road Atlanta? I would have to hold my judgement until I see them in person.


You have TRAKS or whatever they are calling themselves planning to run Vipers, Vettes and Mustangs on OVALS against each other. I think they got the contract signed with the Fairgrounds Speedway so I will wait and base my opinion on them when I see them there.

I agree the Speed Challenge Series seems to be pretty cool. Do they usually run in conjuction with the ALMS?
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 22:28 (Ref:413697)   #12
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muggle not should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridmuggle not should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Lee Roy: Yes, they do have air intake restrictions. Got to their website http://www.speedvisionwc.com/ and click on "competitors" and then "technical specifications" for interesting info on the tech specs..

First of all, I dont like to put the "knock" on any type of racing series as they all have their fans. However, the omly reason that France started Grand Am was an attempt to put the other road racing series out of business before they became too popular. Fans DO NOT go to road races so that they can see all of the track. They go to see a different type of talent reqd for the road tracks and a different type of racing. Grand Am in fact does run road tracks, Watkins Glen, VIR, Quebec, etc.

Comparing Grand Am to ALMS is like comparing Winston Cup to ARCA (or a lesser series). Trans Am has more talented drivers than Grand Am.

Burnsie: Yes, World Challenge usually runs in conjunction with ALMS...but not always...sometimes like this weekend at VIR they are running with Trans Am (the feature race)....and I will be there to see some great racing on a great track. Richard Petty, David Pearson, Paul Newman and others raced at VIR in the 1966 Trans Am race. Paul was a very good racer and in fact still does a little racing.

There is some very good racing by World Challenge, Trans Am, and ALMS at great tracks like Sebring, Laguna Seca, Road America, Mid-Ohio, Mosport, VIR, Road Atlanta, and even Sears.

BTW, the motto of road racing fans is: "Life is too short to go in circles".

Last edited by muggle not; 25 Oct 2002 at 22:32.
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Old 25 Oct 2002, 23:09 (Ref:413717)   #13
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Trans Am and World challenge posted some good practice times in today's practice runs. These are good times since this is the first that TA has run this track in many a year.

Trans Am : 107.464 mi/hr by Boris Said

World Challenge GT Class: 97.86 mi/hr by Peter Cunningham

Trans Am driver and 3 times champion Paul Gentillozi suffered a broken rib in a Thursday practice run when he flew off track and, luckily, hit the tire barrier on the rear of his car.
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Old 29 Oct 2002, 13:27 (Ref:416415)   #14
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Personally I would love to see this formula:

Production derived machinery, ie: Corvette, Viper, Porsche 911, Jaguar XKR, Panoz Roadster, Mustang Cobra, Acura NSX, Camaro Z28, BMW M3 GTR, Audi S4, Ferrari 550 GTO, and maybe a few of the smaller manufacturers like TVR, and Morgan tossed in. The cars would basically be silhouette machinery requiring the production car hood, roof and trunk deck. The fenders would be flared ala Trans Am to allow plenty of rubber. Use curb weight and fuel capacity to even the field.

The lesser class would consist of sub-2.5 liter sedans and GTs such as Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota MR-S, Acura RSX, Chevy Cavalier, Nissan 350Z, Mazda Protege, Volkswagen Golf, BMW 3-series, Dodge Neon, Audi TT, and the new Mini Cooper S.

Allow the manufacturers to develop the GT machinery to its current level and let it be the playground of the fctory teams and well-heeled privateers. The lesser cars could be cost controlled with limited tire selection and maybe a claim rule.

This would eliminate the ultra-expensive LMP and SR classes and give every manufacturer a direct link from the track to the showroom with their high end GTs. No driver changes and races about 2 hours long. Mix in road courses with just a few street races (Cleveland would be excellent) and a couple of medium size ovals.
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