Drivers Offer Praise to Dirt Track-Based Layout in Charlotte
For the second time in two seasons, Global Rallycross makes a visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, with a high-caliber field battling for one of the biggest races for a driver to win on the schedule.
But there are two key differences: the race is in September instead of May this time around, and instead of running on the tri-oval of the stock car track, GRC has taken over The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The facilities are very different, but the change has proven popular so far.
“It was cool to be in there at the same time as the NASCAR guys,” said Travis Pastrana, “but obviously this is a way better environment for us. This is where this stuff needs to be—kind of a short track mentality through the garage. The course is pretty good, and it’s fun to drive.”
“This one is definitely more technical,” added Stephan Verdier, who finished third last season. “There’s a lot of dirt, so the car is going to be sideways a lot. It’s not as high speed as the one was last year, so it might showcase the driver’s skills more because you can’t put the horsepower down with so much dirt.
“I think the times on the cars are going to be much closer, and it should make the competition more exciting to watch.”
Besides the potential for better racing, as Bucky Lasek explains, the teams have had an easier time getting ready with a race track all to themselves.
“Any time that you don’t have to load in and out in 15 minutes, and are granted maybe half an hour of running time—anytime you don’t have to deal with that is definitely a plus,” he said. “We have our own track, we have our own event going on, so we’re not hustling around. We’re just here to put a good race on.
“I would say this year is definitely better. We don’t feel like we’re the sideshow—we feel like we’re the real deal.”
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish