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IMS Writers’ Roundtable, Vol. 26: Favorite Course without Cup, INDYCAR?

Today’s question: The NASCAR Cup Series just made a successful return to Road America last weekend two weeks after the NTT INDYCAR SERIES raced there, and Cup is running on the IMS Road Course for the first time in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on Aug. 15, a day after the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix for INDYCAR on the same track. What is your favorite road circuit in North America that doesn’t host a Cup Series or NTT INDYCAR SERIES race, and why?

Curt Cavin: This question is challenging because INDYCAR and NASCAR have raced at virtually all the feasible road courses. I’ll start by saying I’d like to see INDYCAR back at Watkins Glen, and I think we’ll one day see a return. Zach’s choice of Montreal is terrific, but in the interest of variety I’ll choose Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the site of Formula One’s Mexican Grand Prix. Driving through the stadium looks amazing with the fans going wild.

Zach Horrall: This one is easy for me: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. It is one of the most beautiful racecourses I have ever seen, sitting on the Ile Notre-Dame and surrounded by water – and that’s just from television. I can’t imagine what it’s like in person. The NASCAR Xfinity Series went to Montreal from 2007-12, and that was one of my absolute favorite races on their schedule. I loved seeing stock cars rush into that tricky Turn 1-2 complex that sweeps right, then left and back to a tight right hander for Turn 2. And then to see them tip toe their way through Turns 13 and 14 just before the finish line was a treat. I’ll never forget the 2010 finish when Boris Said inched his way past Max Papis in Turns 13 and 14, beating Papis to the line by .012 of a second. Incredible!

Paul Kelly: Well, I tipped off my choice last week when discussing my favorite NASCAR road-racing moment. I love, love, LOVE Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, better known by its original name, Mosport. The track, 40 miles east of Toronto, has everything – elevation changes, fast corners, tight corners, a long back straightaway with a kink and a final turn that invites tough, close racing. It’s an old-school track that rewards skill and courage in equal amounts. But the aspect of the track that makes it a playground for the brave – limited run-off area in some corners – probably would prevent it from holding an INDYCAR race without significant facility enhancements. Plus, INDYCAR already has a fantastic event on the streets of Toronto, another race and circuit I love.

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