Changes to Mexico City track up the challenge
This Sunday's Busch Series race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez could be full of surprises. Rusty Wallace writes while the race is at a familiar track, there's been a significant change to the track.
Don't expect to see the same old race when the Busch Series rolls onto Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday (Full Circle on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 1:30 p.m. ET).
Of course the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 is at the same track as the two previous seasons, but some changes to the track will make the race really different.
We're really looking forward to it in the broadcast booth because not only has this been one of the highest-rated Busch races in recent seasons, it has also been one of the most exciting. The fans there and the action on the track combine to make the race the kind of spectacle that's hard to imagine unless you see it up close. We hope the Full Circle coverage can bring more of that to the fans at home.
There's been a significant change to the front straightaway. The straightaway is long enough to land a 747, but for the first two Busch races a chicane was added because there was a fear the cars would be going too fast and be unsafe.
But because the track is so narrow, they were not able to create an inner loop like at Watkins Glen -- essentially a place where you have to almost stop, turn right, turn left and then turn back right -- and most of the Busch drivers were trying to run it wide open.
A lot of guys were hitting the ripple strips in the chicane and actually crashing. So NASCAR decided to heck with it, took out the chicane and will let them run wide open down the straight.
We're going to see guys running 200 mph approaching Turn 1 -- the Esse Moises Solana -- where they will have to get hard on their brakes and shift down into second gear.
All eyes are going to be on Turn 1. The drivers will have plenty of time to sort it out in practice and in qualifying, but once the race starts, all bets are off.
The local fans are going to have some hometown drivers to root for as well. Adrian Fernandez is like a god in Mexico and a phenomenal driver on top of that. He's going to be in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevy so he has a chance.
Add to that the Nextel Cup drivers who will be there like Carl Edwards and defending race champion Denny Hamlin and it should be a sight to behold. And you can't forget about Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya, already an international superstar and a guy who could very easily win at this track.
We've got practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday. We have American drivers, foreign drivers and road-race aces.
It truly should be something to watch.
Former Cup champion Rusty Wallace is the lead NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series analyst at ESPN. You can check out all things Rusty at his constantly updated and upgraded Web site at rustywallace.com.
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