As you grow up, there are adventures that grasp a section of your heart and never let go. Nails digging in, yet the intent is comforting like an old song. They are marks that can never be washed away, tattoos of past glories and experiences. Distinction highlights its outline, making it stand out forever.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has that halo for me.
When the track’s addition to the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule was revealed, all I could think about was last summer’s IndyCar race, how small I became when I first stepped into their Media Center, what realizations I had soon after. There wasn’t anything more special or remarkable than that time spent around the track.
President Craig Rust, who ran Watkins Glen for nine season, knows how road courses work -and how magically they can be.
“The NASCAR community has bad their eyes open about road course racing. The driver’s today have very diverse backgrounds, and it produces a great product. When the product’s good, people will come out.”
Rust also pointed out, “If [Mid-Ohio was] another oval . . .I don’t think NASCAR would’ve taken as hard of a look.”
That hard look began in October, and Jesse Ghiorzi, the Marketing and Communications Manager for Mid-Ohio, remembered how quickly the decision happened. When the date was announced in November, it was the beginning of “the busiest off-season.”
“We’ve been in regular contact with NASCAR, they have been super helpful . . .I’ve called other PR Managers at other tracks, you know, to figure out what to expect. There’s pressure all around.”
Ghiorzi is also optimistic in that race weekend, which is August 16th through 17th. “I think that it’ll be good . . .so many tickets have been sold already . . .rating are high. It’s going to be awesome.”
A twisting road course, Mid-Ohio will add something more than turns to the NNS line-up; one attribute to the location is the light air that surrounds it.
“It definitely has a picnic and park feel,” noted Ghiorzi. “With a fair-priced General Admission ticket, you can bring cooler, camps, grills . . .kids twelve-years old and under get in free, and general parking is free, too.”
The track also held a public test on April 15th, which included driver Sam Hornish Jr. May 3rd will mark a free fan event, where fans will be able to enter an autocross competition to win tickets to the track, and a $10 donation can be made to get you in the pace car for a ride.
You can tell the track is focused on providing a memorable experience, whether it be to a young child’s first NASCAR memories, or to a seasoned IndyCar fan who’s curious about the other side of racing.
However, another factor into all of this is the sudden attention Ohio and its racetracks are receiving, and this is something that Mid-Ohio can gain upon.
“I think the fact that I made the call [was a big step],” Rust stated. “We wanted a NASCAR race. Trucks on dirt [Eldora Speedway] is a pretty cool concept . . .the NNS race fits well [here], with the track being in Nationwide Insurance’s backyard. We also have Nationwide Children’s Hospital as the title sponsor.”
The Ohio roots run deep, and the old song comes back.
Whether you are attending to relive old memories, or to create new ones, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is eager to help you.
Maybe it will have a halo for you someday.