Hello, and after too much time away, welcome back to From the Tower as we usher in Season 2. The STSC season opener is behind us, and the inaugural NSRS event is tonight! Let’s talk about the upcoming season.
Not a Tire Fire!: The biggest change for STSC entering season 2 was the removal of the 3x tire/fuel modifier which effectively mandated pit stops (often more than once) each race. I think those who watched the season opener at Watermelon Capital Speedway yesterday can agree it made for a much better race. The action was decided on the track and not on pit road, with Cooter Bigsby and Satoshi Nakata waging an awesome battle until they, well, weren’t. If you somehow haven’t seen the video, here you go.
Hopefully, that race will set the tone for the upcoming season. That’s not to say there won’t be any pit stops. In fact, I’ll be surprised, even at the 1x setting, if pit stops don’t factor into the race at the salt-covered tire destroyer that is Five Flags Speedway. However, this should make for a fairer – and more entertaining – form of racing for our new users.
Please Take Our Jobs: Here at SCOR we have several job openings available for people wanting to help out the league! Not only do you get the great feeling of playing a role in the growth of this exciting new sim league which continues to exceed all of our expectations, but you also get TPE for your efforts!
Arguably the job of highest demand right now is graphic designing (to help paint cars for all of our lovely new users). It sounds intimidating, especially for those familiar with the “sig gods” of most sim leagues. But I assure you it’s not nearly as daunting as it looks to paint cars for NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, and I can say that because I do it … on GIMP. I’m the least visual person you’ll ever find. Seriously, give it a shot, or click here to see the other job openings available.
Lay of the Land: After a passing conversation this morning in the SCOR Discord, I decided to use the majority of this space to talk about the tracks of Season 2, namely the newest additions to the calendar for this season. Along with all of the tracks on the new NSRS schedule, there are some new additions to the STSC schedule as well. Without further ado, here is a look at each of those facilities, for the uninitiated.
South Boston Speedway (STSC) – Often referred to as simply “SoBo,” this 0.400-mile oval in southern Virginia opened in 1957 and remains one of the most well-known and prestigious short tracks to visit for Late Model Stock competitors. The track is probably best known for most NASCAR fans for hosting Busch Series events until the 2000 season, and producing future Cup drivers such as Jeff and Ward Burton, Elliott Sadler, and Stacy Compton. It also has an awesome bologna burger.
Madison International Speedway (STSC) – Located in Oregon, Wisconsin just to screw with your thought process, Madison International is a half-mile currently on the ARCA Racing Series schedule. Former track champions at Madison include Matt Kenseth, Travis Kvapil, Dick Trickle, and Rich Bickle. The race also hosts the annual Joe Shear Classic, named after another Wisconsin racing legend who lost his life to cancer in 1998.
Darlington Raceway – Darlington is known by several names – The Lady in Black, The Track Too Tough to Tame, A NASCAR Tradition. No matter what you call it, Darlington is one of the toughest and most historic tracks NASCAR visits each year. With an egg-shaped design, tremendously abrasive asphalt, and a groove that forces drivers to race inches from the outside wall, Darlington is intimidating, imposing, and treacherous. In other words, a perfect place to ease drivers into the first season of the NSRS!
Iowa Speedway – A 7/8-mile oval designed with influence from Rusty Wallace and modeled after Richmond Raceway (see below!), Iowa Speedway hosts two of the top three NASCAR National Series, as well as ARCA and the Verizon IndyCar Series. Progressive banking in the corners ranging from 12 to 14 degrees creates multi-groove racing throughout its sweeping corners.
EuroSpeedway Lausitz – SCOR goes international for the third round of the NSRS, heading to Klettwitz, Brandenburg, Germany. The EuroSpeedway Lausitz features several racing layouts, but the NSRS will use its 2-mile oval configuration, which hosted CART races in 2001 and 2003. Unfortunately, this layout is also best known for an incident involving CART champion Alex Zanardi, in which the Italian driver lost both his legs. Zanardi has since recovered to become a four-time gold medalist in Paralympic cycling.
Texas Motor Speedway – Based in Fort Worth, Texas Motor Speedway opened in 1996 and hosted its first race in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 1997. It’s also the place where AJ Foyt slapped Arie Luyendyk after a controversial finish to an Indy Racing League race, so that’s pretty cool.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Originally opened in 1962, Mid-Ohio didn’t become a mainstay in American road course racing until the 1980s. It has long been a popular member of open-wheel and sports car schedules in the United States, and recently joined the NASCAR Xfinity Series calendar as well. If you haven’t laughed yet today (and AJ Foyt slapping Arie Luyendyk didn’t do the trick) here’s that time the NASCAR Xfinity Series raced at Mid-Ohio in the rain.
Richmond Raceway – Originally a half-mile oval, Richmond was reconfigured into a 0.750-mile D-shape oval in 1988. Since then, it has become one of the more popular stops on the NASCAR Cup schedule as a racey short-track with plenty of side-by-side racing. Richmond is currently undergoing a $30 million renovation to incorporate a better fan experience in the infield.
Milwaukee Mile – The second-oldest operating speedway in the world, the Milwaukee Mile at Wisconsin State Fair Park hosted major auto races from 1903 to 2015. In open-wheel circles, it was best known for traditionally hosting the first event following the Indianapolis 500 each season. NASCAR’s Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series also visited the famed mile throughout the 80s and 90s, until 2009.
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – Home to Formula One’s Canadian Grand Prix, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located in Montreal (ew) and named after Canadian racing champion Gilles Villeneuve after his death at Zolder in 1982. The venue also hosted an insanely popular date on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule but NASCAR never gave them a Cup date because “reasons” so Montreal pulled out. Boo, NASCAR. Boo. Fun fact, the wall following the final chicane on the circuit is dubbed “The Wall of Champions,” because of the prestigious list of drivers who have hit it. I’m sure that won’t be a problem for us at all, though.
Fairgrounds Speedway – The Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee was originally on the Season 1 STSC schedule, but simming complications led to its replacement with LaCrosse (a damn fine replacement, I might add). Hopefully, those issues have been resolved for Season 2, allowing us to visit the stomping grounds for Sterling Marlin, Darrell Waltrip, Casey Atwood, Jeremy Mayfield, and more.
Auto Club Speedway – Built on the former site of the Kaiser Steel Mill, Auto Club Speedway joined the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule in 1997 along with Texas Motor Speedway. Along with NASCAR events, the speedway has also hosted several open-wheel events. The IndyCar Series championship was decided there between 2012 and 2015, as well as the 2006 Piston Cup in one of the most touching moments in our sport’s history.
I-70 Speedway: Now for a couple of tracks that no longer host racing. I-70 Speedway closed in 2008. When it was open, its 30 degrees of banking created fast racing around its half-mile surface. The track hosted the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series between 1995 and 1999. It’s really not fair awesome race tracks like this close while Hermann Tilke is still gainfully improved, but here we are.
Rockingham Speedway – Formerly North Carolina Speedway and better known as “The Rock,” this North Carolina facility was a mainstay on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule until its dismissal in 2004. The track appeared destined for a revival in 2008, but has since shuttered once more. Known for an abrasive racing surface similar to Darlington’s but with a wider groove more conducive to side-by-side battles, The Rock was a fan favorite for those watching on TV, but often suffered from poor attendance during the 2000s before losing its dates on the schedule.
Road America: The third and final road course on the inaugural NSRS schedule, Road America is, in my humble opinion, the best road course in the United States. Four miles in length, the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin facility is truly a phenomenal circuit. It has been on the NASCAR Xfinity Series slate since 2010, and hosted countless sports car and open-wheel racers prior and since.
Kentucky Speedway: Lest you get through this entire schedule without getting a taste of the 1.5-mile
sleep factories tri-oval speedways which currently dominate the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule, here’s Kentucky Speedway. It is located in Sparta, Kentucky, which is pretty cool to say.
Talladega Superspeedway: The longest and fastest track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule closes out the inaugural NSRS season. 2.66 miles in length, speeds at the Alabama speedway are lowered by restrictor plates in the engines in the name of safety. Among many other things, Talladega has been known for unpredictable racing, massive accidents, thrilling finishes, and possibly being cursed by Native Americans. Jury’s still out on the last one.