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Dream INDYCAR Road/Street Circuit, Part I

Dream INDYCAR Road/Street Circuit, Part I

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is taking a short breather this week, with next on the calendar July 22-24 the Honda Indy Toronto, a popular street circuit.

That race kicks off a series of five events in 22 days. With two street courses and a permanent track on the road, INDYCAR.com has licensed two experienced motorsport writers to design their ideal track map based on aspects of the current NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule. No limits were given, although it must have some form of logic flow.

Trust us, it’s not easy, but it sure is fun.

The following is composed by Curt Cavin. Friday it’s Paul Kelly’s turn.

Road America’s Front Straight: For me, this is the best non-oval start in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. It’s an infernal long uphill approach to the flagpole, and then the sprint into Turn 1 feels like an eternity. By the time the field reaches Turn 1, everyone has had time to hold onto the wheel firmly.

Turn 2 and 3: Long Beach Every good first turn should have a scene-setting section to follow, and what’s a chicane around the fountain at Long Beach is just that. It is an iconic image and also a left-right-left tester. The camera images from there are sublime.

Detroit Turn 3: Now give the field a medium run to stretch the legs, and the approach to Turn 3 in Belle Isle Park does. This left-handed corner is inviting, which all good angles should be. Don’t forget how cool the previous nervous corner in Detroit is.

Portland Turn 9 or Road America’s Kink: Either one works as the cars build up speed during the next long stretch. Both sections are bad fast; I’m giving the nod to Portland’s here because Road America’s gets a lot of praise from the competitors, broadcasters and fans.

Long Beach between turns 8 and 9: Here you can see the intoxicating roar the cars make as they drive under the bridge and between the buildings. There is no sound like it in this series, the closest North America has to Monaco.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Turns 5-6: A long straight should have a fast left-right combo to act as a chicane, and Indy’s road course has that dramatically. This section is fast and fierce, and it really shows the agility of these cars.

Barber Motorsports Park Turn 1: After the long run we got the cars on let’s steer them into this beautiful Alabama bend with a dramatic drop in altitude and the carousel that follows in turns 2 and 3. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say how much I love the blind comb of the comb in turn 3.

Nashville Turn 11: Now it’s time for another long straight. Cross the Veterans Memorial Bridge, where this year’s race will begin, and storm into this inviting, but potentially damaging, left turn. Remember how it collected several cars at last year’s inaugural event? Colton Herta certainly does.

St. Petersburg Turn 10: Drivers now need time to catch their breath. The fast lefty next to the stadium in St. Pete serves as a nice setup for the heavy braking zone that turns the action on Dan Wheldon Way. The grandstand opposite is a great place to watch race cars in the warm spring sun.

Toronto Turn 3: The next long stretch is a sprint from Lake Shore Boulevard to my favorite corner at Exhibition Place. From the grandstand to the driver’s right, the turn seems impossible: seemingly bending more than 90 degrees, off camber and uphill. Love that angle.

Laguna Seca corkscrew: Since we have the field with significant elevation changes, why not drop them off the hill at Turn 8? It’s the most famous turn of the road course in North American racing, and it’s a monster of a twisting 10-story descent into Turn 9.

Road America’s Canada Corner: Next to the Corkscrew, the in-the-woods approach to Turn 12 is the nicest. Sit there and listen to the roar as the cars come into view. As if the corner wasn’t special enough, it’s the run-up through Thunder Valley, where cars get light in Turn 13 and wheels often lift off the ground. There I would place the finish of this dream circuit.

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