Commentary

Drivers hopeful back-to-back road races will pay off with results

The challenge of a road course is a nearly unique one in NASCAR. Road races in back-to-back weeks? Now that's something different, writes Rupen Fofaria.

Updated: August 9, 2007, 4:19 PM ET
By Rupen Fofaria | Special to ESPN.com

Chasing perfection, Busch Series drivers will get a little more practice shifting and turning right this weekend as they compete in their second-straight road course race.

Following last weekend's first-ever Busch race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the Busch Series joins the Nextel Cup Series at Watkins Glen.

"I like having the chance to run two road courses in a row because it gives you the chance to stay on that train of thought and apply what you learned the weekend before," Jason Leffler said. "That's something we have never had the chance to do with our road course program."

Some will try to repeat last week's successes. Others are hoping to make up for what they thought would be a successful weekend but wasn't.

"We had a very strong road course car at Montreal last weekend, but we didn't get the finish we wanted," said Carl Edwards, who finished 30th but still leads the points race by 787. "I can't wait to get back into my Busch car this weekend and tackle Watkins Glen and its 11 turns and banking. It's always challenging, but I really like it a lot. I'm looking forward to it and I plan on coming out of there with a very solid finish."

Last week's winner, Kevin Harvick, is obviously excited to return to road course racing. He said he believes last weekend's Busch race and this Saturday's race will help him in Sunday's Cup event. After all, road racing is much different than the more familiar ovals.

"There's a lot more to do on road courses," Harvick said. "You have to shift, stop, shift, gas it and slide. The hardest handling characteristic is to get your car to have forward bite up off the corners because you are coming off a low gear and there are a lot of off-camber corners.

"You have to try and hook your car up the best you can. It's kind of like trying to find a balance between taking care of your stuff and driving the heck out of it. It's definitely different from our normal routine."

Carpentier back for more
Patrick Carpentier will attempt to make Saturday's race, for Fitz Motorsports, and also Sunday's Nextel Cup event, driving the No. 10 Dodge in place of Scott Riggs.

Last week, Carpentier won the pole in Montreal, led 14 laps and finished second.

More familiar faces
Many of last week's road-race aces will be back to try their hand at Watkins Glen. Boris Said, Carpentier, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Pruett, Robby Gordon, Ron Fellows, Andy Pilgrim, Jorge Goeters, Andy Lally and Scott Gaylord are all on the entry list.

More international flavor
Pilgrim finished 15th in his first stock car race last weekend. The native of Nottingham, England, has 28 career starts at Watkins Glen in seven different racing series.

Rupen Fofaria has covered NASCAR for ESPN.com since 2002. He can be reached at rupenisracin@yahoo.com.