For its annual visits to the Watkins Glen International road course, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series utilizes a 2.45-mile “short course,” which bypasses a mile-long section of the track known simply as “The Boot.”
This piece of the Glen is utilized regularly by GRAND-AM sports cars, but the Cup contingent has never been able to try it out – and that has had some of the drivers calling for a change this weekend.
“For years, I always said ‘Put more turns in and I think we’ll have a better chance at better results,’ four-time Glen winner Jeff Gordon said on Friday.
“I think for our fans watching at home as well as watching here, I think that the course we run is probably a little bit better and more laps, more suited to our cars.
“I don’t know what would creep up if we [raced ‘The Boot’]. Would we have brake issues? I don’t know all the ins and outs because I’ve never driven it. I like road courses and I like challenges, so I at least would like to give it a shot one time.”
His Hendrick Motorsports teammate, championship leader Jimmie Johnson (pictured), also wants to try “The Boot” on for size in a stock car after having raced on it in a GRAND-AM car back in 2010.
“The first corner would be exciting in one of our [Cup] cars,” Johnson said. “You can crest the hill and have a blind entry into that left-hander. I could see us having some big problems – there would be my only concern.
“But we’re professionals. We understand the risks and I think it would be worth the risk to run us through there. It is a very, very fun experience down through ‘The Boot.'”
However, while Glen president Michael Printup told the Associated Press that he wasn’t completely against having the Cup cars run ‘The Boot,’ he did seem to admit some nervousness about the idea.
“There’s no bleachers [in that section],” he said to the AP. “We’d have to look at the logistics. We’re just going to let it play out. I’d be a little worried about adding a mile. I wouldn’t want to give the feel of short-changing the people.”