WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — A question that was asked of Watkins Glen Int’l president Michael Printup earlier this week on Race Chaser Online led to discussion on the feasibility and potential to for NASCAR to race “The Boot” portion of the historic track.
Printup was candid in revealing that NASCAR has already completed computer simulation work to test the feasibility of NASCAR racing the full WGI road course.
“It is feasible and NASCAR has run computer simulations for us to make sure,” said Printup on Monday afternoon.
“We’re going to continually take a look at that. Last year we put a push on that, which is what prompted NASCAR to run the simulations for us and we want to take a good hard look at that. You do have to be careful in how far you expand quickly, that’s always in the back of our mind. I think there will be a day, and I hope I’m still here, when we race ‘The Boot.’”
During Saturday morning’s Watkins Glen International stop on the Dale Earnhardt Jr. ‘Appreci88ion Tour,’ Earnhardt Jr. was asked what he thought about NASCAR racing the entire course.
His answer was candid and uplifting for any fans of the Boot.
“I think it would be great,” Earnhardt Jr. answered enthusiastically. “I don’t think it would be an incredible adjustment for anybody. It would just add a little bit more distance to the track. It’s not a major change that would affect the bottom line when it comes to (the) economics.”
With Earnhardt Jr. headed to the NBC Sports booth in 2018 to start calling NASCAR races, his attention to answering the question also took a twist to how it might affect the fans watching at home.
Earnhardt touched on how the TV coverage and ratings would likely see a small spike, with fans wanting to tune in to see how that first race might go while running ‘The Boot.’
“It might actually give a little bit of a spark to the people that are tuning in,” he said. “They would want to see what it was like the first time around.”
Though stepping out of the No. 88 after this season’s completion, Earnhardt Jr. felt that getting to try running the full WGI road course would be something of his liking. Even though NASCAR has done simulation work to run the full course, Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t even think that doing that would be completely necessary.
“I think it would be neat to try it, and it wouldn’t seem like you would need a simulation for that. Just go out and do it.”
With Printup onboard, NASCAR onboard with taking the first step in running simulations and apparent driver support in the garage, one has to think that NASCAR will be running ‘The Boot’ … or at least making a real life simulation sooner than later.
And if an Earnhardt says it’s a good idea, what’s the harm in giving it a shot?
About the Writer
Steven Ovens is the Northeast dirt correspondent for Race Chaser Online and the creator and host of the Turn 5 Live dirt track racing radio show, airing at 7:30 p.m. Eastern every Tuesday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Ovens has spent his lifetime in the sport of dirt track racing, growing up in the garages of the Kerrick and Ovens families. He spent 11 years behind the wheel between go-karts and four-cylinder mini stocks, which brings a unique perspective to his dirt track editorials.
The 31-year-old has a career in the growing health care business world, and is also entering his second season as the full-time announcer and media director for Woodhull Raceway in Woodhull, N.Y.
In addition, Ovens was formerly the announcer and media director for Outlaw Speedway (formerly Black Rock Speedway) in Dundee, N.Y., serving in that capacity in both 2015 and 2016.
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