Jeff Gluck out here on a casual Tuesday dropping a NASCAR BOMB on us.
NASCAR will transform the current 2-mile California Speedway in Fontana into a .5-mile high banked short track. This is not a joke, there’s no troll job here, this didn’t even originate from Facebook. NASCAR is actually listening to the fans an adding a short track to the schedule, a brand new short track at that. A 2022 model, no wear and tear, no infrastructure questions, a bight and shiny good to go short track.
Losing Fontana Is A Bummer, But Here’s Why It’s Ok
Fontana is easily in the Top-5 when it comes to intermediate ovals (1.5-2-mile) on the NASCAR schedule.
The 2-mile oval has become a fan favorite over the last few years. With its worn out surface, 200+ mph, 4-wide racing, and tendency to have solid finishes fans has come to love the track in recent years.
Fontana’s worn out surface is one of the things fans love the most about the Southern California track. Unfortunately, the surface is near the end of its life and a repave is imminent. While the surface is work out the backstretch has developed a series of bumps that resemble a supercross rhythm section.
Then there comes the issue of speed. One of the coolest features of Fontana was the Toyota speed sign going into Turn 1. Watching cars enter at 215 mph was exhilarating. Keyword there is “was”, with NASCAR’s new direction aimed at 550 HP the top speed has been capped at Fontana. No more do we see eye popping speeds, instead we see rather pedestrian speeds to the point the Xfinity cars are faster. While that may not have been a huge attractor for fans it was one of the best things about Fontana.
If NASCAR repaved Fontana it would be years before we saw the solid racing we’ve grown accustomed to. Instead fans would faced with years of races like the ones we’ve seen at Michigan since their repave. Instead of putting fans through years of excruciatingly awful races, NASCAR came up with a new idea.
Fontana will transformed into a .5-mile short track using part of the front stretch and the existing pit road. According to The Athletic the straights will have 11 degrees of banking (what the front stretch currently has) and then Bristol style banking in the corners. Based on the layout it looks like a high banked Martinsville.
This will be the first new short track added to the NASCAR Cup Series calendar since Rockingham in the 1960’s. An absolutely preposterous stat when you consider how much NASCAR fans love short tracks. (New Hampshire, Phoenix and Dover aren’t short tracks).
NASCAR hired property developers Hillwood to redevelop areas of the property at their tracks. Chicagoland and Fontana were the two at the top of the list. A Fontana half-mile does just that, it frees up even more space to be redeveloped while also giving NASCAR something they so desperately need.
Money. Another short track.
Overall this is a great move for the sport.
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