Time to bring NASCAR’s big boys to RA

ROAD AMERICA IN ELKHART LAKE bills itself as “America’s National Park of Speed.”

Over the more than half a century that the unique road racing course has traversed the Kettle Moraine hills just outside Elkhart Lake, all kinds of two- and four-wheeled speed machines have zipped around the twists and turns of the worldfamous course.

For the past five years, the stock cars in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series have made a highly successful annual stop at the Elkhart Lake track, most recently this past weekend.

While the Nationwide races have been a huge draw and a great success, Road America officials are setting their sights even higher, hoping to move up from NASCAR’s ‘minor league circuit’ to the big leagues and host a NASCAR Sprint Cup series race.

The Sprint series, which primarily runs on traditional oval tracks, already holds several races a year on road courses like Road America. RA officials would like to build on their track record of success with the Nationwide series and bring the big names like Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the rest to Elkhart Lake.

In a press conference prior this year’s Nationwide race, Road America President George Bruggenthies said the picturesque setting of Road America combined with its strong results hosting the Nationwide races make RA a great candidate for a Sprint Cup race.

“We think it’s very worthy. The drivers actually like the facility, NASCAR likes the facility and we’re hopeful. We’ll just keep heading on the same path to prepare and hope something opens up. Officially, there’s no commitment or anything like that. But if you’re ready, things will happen,” Bruggenthies said.

Beyond the several road course events on the

Sprint Cup schedule, there is a precedent for

NASCAR’s top series coming to Road America.

The course hosted the Sprint Cup’s predecessor,

NASCAR’s Grand National series, in 1956.

It might seem a pipe dream to some to bring stock car racing’s biggest circuit to Elkhart Lake’s Road America – but it shouldn’t be.

More than two decades ago, no one would have thought of Sheboygan County hosting major golf events, but with the vision and dream of the Kohler Co. and local golf promoters, Sheboygan County has hosted nearly half a dozen major men’s, women’s and senior events in the past two decades and will host more in the years to come – with great success.

Road America has shown over the past half century-plus that it can host many different racing events of world-wide significance and impact capably and successfully.

Right now it might appear to be a long shot for Road America to host a NASCAR Sprint Cup race, but long shots have been known to grab the checkered flag in many a race and here’s hoping that “America’s National Park of Speed” can bring home their Sprint Cup long shot hopes.

At issue:
Sprint Cup at Road America
Bottom line:
It would be a winner

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