Joey Logano, NASCAR, Watkins Glen, 2015

Red flags interrupt NASCAR at Watkins Glen

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Eight caution periods including two red flags severely disrupted NASCAR’s visit to former Formula One venue Watkins Glen.

Meanwhile ex-Formula Renault 3.5 racer Esteban Guerrieri impressed on his World Touring Car Championship debut.


Race 22 of 36: Watkins Glen

Denny Hamlin beat Joey Logano in a wild race at Watkins Glen which finished under caution. Hamlin took the lead with ten laps to go. Brad Keselowski followed Logano home having led the most laps.

World Touring Car Championship

Esteban Guerrieri, once a leading light in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, impressed on his maiden outing in the World Touring Car Championship. The Super TC2000 driver would have put his Chevrolet on pole position had it not been for an infringement with the pit lane exit light, and after technical problems in race one bounced back to take sixrg in race two.

An eventful opening race was won by Tom Chilton who beat pole sitter John Filippi away from the line. Rob Huff fended off a late challenge from Yvan Muller to claim second while Jose Maria Lopez cimbed through the field to fifth having started last due to an engine change.

Lopez took the win in race two from pole position, beating early leader Norbert Michelisz after battling when the Hungarian beat him off the line. Michelisz later hit trouble and ended up in eighth, allowing Tom Coronel and Huff to complete the podium.

World Rallycross

Round 7 of 12: Canada

Timmy Hansen claimed a surprise win despite initially failing to qualify for the final. He was promoted to the back row of the grid when Timur Timerzyanov was disqualified for contact with Toomas Heikkinen in the same semi-final.

Petter Solberg had dominated the weekend prior to the final. He started from pole but slipped down the order on a tracl made wet by pre-race rain. A poor start saw Heikkinen surge into the lead from the second row, and Andreas Bakkerud closed the door on Solberg at turn one dropping the champion to sixth.

Hansen passed Heikkinen on lap two, then took his joker on lap four before passing Bakkerud on the penultimate tour, holding off him and Johan Kristoffersson for his first win of the season.


Round 9 of 12: Road America

Race video not available yet.

Over to you

Did you see any of the action this weekend? What were your highlights? Let us know in the comments below.

With most series in their summer breaks action is a little thin on the ground next weekend, but we still have BTCC action at Knockhill to look forward to.

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@Mathers) for contributing to this article.

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  • 14 comments on “Red flags interrupt NASCAR at Watkins Glen”

    1. Frustrating last number of laps at Watkins Glen with the repeated yellows and stoppages. And talk about unlimited track limits…lol.

      1. Keith Crossley
        8th August 2016, 16:31

        Track limits! And Jean Todt faints.

      2. I wished NASCAR would do something about the exit of the Outer Loop. Especially after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. lost control because of it.

        1. They would need to do something with the kerbs, like they in the Ninety.

          See my comment and @vmaxmuffin‘s a bit below as well.

    2. Guerrieri doing well in WTCC is no surprise. The level of touring car drivers here in Argentina surpasses by far what’s seen in WTCC (which isn’t that good to be honest). Guerrieri isn’t even a star in our championships… there are many others who are much more successful.

      For instance, Matias Rossi, a multiple STC2000 champ, would beat the hell out of everyone anytime. He used to beat Lopez regularly to local touring car championships, so he’d be able to do the same in WTCC.

      I wish Argies got involved in V8 Supercars, DTM or BTCC.

      1. Maybe the language is a problem for Argies..?

        1. @ernietheracefan Nah, english is our second language. These days a lot of people speak english to some degree.

          The main problem is money, and being away from their families. Europe is a long way and they have to fully commit to it. Same problem the Aussie’s have.

    3. RIP Bryan Clauson who died in a horrific crash during a USAC short track event while defending his title at the Belleville Nationals.

      Whilst many may only know him from his three Indy 500 attempts that didn’t yield much success, he was one of those old school guys who would race anything and everything. He had set himself a target of competing in 200 races during 2016 and this weekend was the 116th on that list. He’ll be greatly missed by the motor racing community.

      1. Echo your comments. I saw Bryan compete in the Indy 500 this year and there a lot of people wearing Bryan Clauson tee-shirts and cheering for him. He was an outstanding talent and his ability to race in any car on any surface (and be mighty successful) was admired by his on track competitors. He will be sorely missed.

        RIP Bryan Clauson.

    4. Not a fan of Timur but that DSQ was quite a rash and very harsh decision. I would not have even given him a penalty, especially not after he got away with his first lap shambles in Q2 I believe.

    5. Watching this weekend’s racing in America has brought up a lot about track limits in my mind. The American view on track limits, for those who don’t watch American motorsport, is that all sealed surfaces are fair game. As long as you’re not actually cutting the track (making it shorter), you can run as wide as you like on the exits. I was watching the NASCAR races (Xfinity and Sprint Cup) at Watkins and at first this approach annoyed me, but after sleeping on it I decided I don’t actually mind it. Everyone knows the rule – or lack thereof – so there’s no arguing about it. It means drivers can race hard and not worry about what the track limit is and whether they or their opponent violated a rule. That being said, it’s something that’s quite track dependent. It works at Watkins Glen, where many of the turns are positively cambered (so running wide means there is significantly less grip as there’s less banking) so the only place drivers are constantly running wide is the exit of the Carousel. I don’t necessarily like it, but I prefer seeing everyone run wide here than constantly hearing whinging about track limits – who did x, who should be punished with y, blah blah blah blah blah. I’m sick of it in F1 and it’s so refreshing not to have to hear about it. The other NASCAR road course, Sonoma Raceway, only has 1 corner with track limits issues (Turn 4a, leading onto The Chute). Here cars are bouncing over the big kerb, it’s dramatic to watch, and they can’t go too wide because there’s a wall that narrows in to the track edge on the exit. Again, I feel like I have a better experience as a fan when track limits aren’t being discussed. I’m not the only one – Toto Wolff was talking about this last week, and Romain Grosjean agrees too.

      Now, that all being said, the problem with (modern) F1 tracks is that they are way too generous when it comes to these potential racing surfaces. This GT battle in the IMSA race at COTA shows it quite clearly. The difference here, compared to Watkins Glen, is that kerbs are completely flat (so there’s zero effect on car balance when running over them), and also because the corners are all completely flat (or even slightly off camber), there’s no grip benefit to staying on the actual track. Overall, there is no tradeoff when it comes to running wide, so the problem is greatly exaggerated.

      So how do we solve this problem? I think the first thing is we need to get rid of these stupid flat kerbs. I don’t want 80s-style 6″ high kerbs that launch a car when it runs over it, but really I think we could get kerbs that are a bit higher than what we currently have. The next problem is general track design, which is something that is more difficult to solve. Basically, you need to create a situation where there is more grip on the actual track than in the runoff, so that if drivers are running wide, at least they are losing something (even if it is faster overall). On older circuits, like Watkins Glen, this often is achieved with the positively cambered corners. Newer circuits that have flat or negatively cambered corners (which, by the way, I believe hurt overtaking too, as I have explained in the past) need to use other measures. One option might be to develop some sort of other hard surface runoff with less grip – some kind of low-grip tarmac or concrete. Failing that, we need to bring back grass on the exit of corners. I don’t care if there’s tarmac straight on in the runoff, or if there’s a layer of grass on the exit followed by tarmac runoff, but that’s really the only option if the other measures I’ve discussed can’t be used, for whatever reason.

      1. A whole low grip tarmac runoff probably wouldn’t fly as it won’t slow down runaway cars enough (something that current tarmac runoffs don’t do too well either)
        Realistically I can see a metre or two metres wide strip of the low grip surface followed by the car park runoff.

        I wish it’d just be grass+gravel tbh, for both aesthetics and function, but can’t see it happening for multiple reasons. One of them being tarmac, unlike grass or gravel, can be also easily used as an advertising area :]

    6. If anyone on here is a fan of dirt racing we just lost one of the greatest dirt racers of all time. Bryan Clauson was on pace to run 200 races in various dirt cars and ran the Indy 500 this year. Heck of a talent but what I hear most from the Cup guys who knew him was he was one hell of a good guy.

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