Camping World 500k

Short, flat tracks are rhythm courses.

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 04: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Beer Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Going fast on one of these courses is counterintuitive. Most drivers like to carry as much speed as they can into the entry and then deal with the consequences in the center of the turn. To go fast on a short, flat track, drivers have to back the corner up and brake much earlier than feels natural.

That cadence does not begin overnight and it is not automatic. It takes years of experience to develop that kind of discipline, but once a driver finds the right balance, it becomes part of their long term memory.

Flat tracks in general and short ovals of one-mile or less in length in particular are prone to streaks. This week’s top-10 will be dominated by drivers like Kevin Harvick, who has the longest active streak at Phoenix and Kyle Busch, who has been the best on the combined short, flat tracks.

With little banking to lean on through the corners, finesse comes into play. That makes Phoenix, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, and Richmond International Raceway into drivers’ tracks.

Horsepower is important there as it is on all tracks, but it is a smaller percentage of the equation. Driver skill makes up the difference and there will be some interesting dark horses in the teens.


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