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Voices from the Heartland: No Track is TOO Fast

Earlier this week, it was suggested by Frontstretch‘s Managing Editor Thomas Bowles that racetracks in general and Lowe’s Motor Speedway specifically may have been made, or re-made, too fast for NASCAR Nextel Cup racecars.

At the risk of being fired, hung, drawn and quartered, chopped into little bits and the little bits jumped upon until I’ve had enough, I respectfully say that Thomas Bowles is only running on seven cylinders.

There is no such thing as a track that is TOO fast!

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In my neck of the woods, there are several curves in the local highways, as I’m sure there are where you live, that advertise the maximum speed for said curve is say, 40 mph. That sign is the recommended safe speed.

There is one about five miles from my house that says 35 mph. I know for a FACT that my 1972 Chevy Stepside will take it at 70, given a couple of crucial factors. One, my wife isn’t with me at the time, two, there are soybeans planted to the inside of the curve, and three, if it’s corn, it is not too tall to see all the way around the corner. (At that speed, you have to use ALL of the road!)

Now, just because I CAN do that, doesn’t mean I SHOULD do that. As Clint Eastwood once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” The same is true with racetracks.

With all the troubles that have plagued LMS since the first “levigation,” if it was going to be done at all, they have finally made it perfect. Don’t blame a track because it is “too smooth.”

All tracks, no matter when they were built, were built to have the best, smoothest possible racing surface. The bumps and other characteristics developed over time. As a driver, you need to learn to get around that track the fastest way possible, be it bumpy, smooth, AMIDST traffic or all of the above.

Yes, I can go around the curve I mentioned earlier at 70 mph under optimal conditions, but if my buddy is also there, racing me home from bowling, it is prudent that, with two of us doing the same thing at the same time, we slow it down a bit so the county sheriff isn’t knocking on two doors! The same is true, minus the sheriff, for supposedly racing professionals.

LMS, untouched, had its own unique characteristics. The drivers learned how to get around it the more they raced on it. LMS, as it is now, is nothing other than NEW. It is probably better than when it was first built. Those poor little professional drivers just ain’t used to it yet. They may soon learn that just because you CAN go into a turn at 200 mph, doesn’t mean they should.

There is no such thing as TOO FAST of a track. There ARE such things as OVERCONFIDENT drivers. Give them and the track time, they will learn to adjust.

Stay off the wall,

Jeff

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