July 4th has been a great day in NASCAR racing for many years. The long time tradition was that every 4th of July the drivers would take to Daytona Super Speedway for the second time that season under the lights for what was looked at as one of the best races of the season. In 2020 NASCAR decided that they would break the long standing history of the race and move the location of to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and run the Brickyard 400, a crown jewel race, to the 4th and move the second Daytona race to the regular season finale instead. NASCAR changed the location again for the 2021 season and made their return to Road America, a 4 mile road course in the woods of Wisconsin that has not been raced on in the Cup Series in over 60 years. Given the product on track, and the great response from fans at home and on the track could this be the new tradition?
I will be the first to admit that I was very skeptical of the race track and if it would put on good racing, which it needed to give the race it was replacing, and it did. The combination of fast long straights into heavy braking and technical zones made for some of the best road course racing we have seen all year. Many different leaders all through the day and none of them went down without a fight. William Byron, Kyle Busch, Aj Allmendinger, Dibby, and Austin Cindric all were leaders at some point in the race before Chase Elliott reminded us that he is still in fact the road course king and put on yet another stage 3 masterclass and pulled away to over a 3 second lead by the time he crossed the line. The battle for the lead was not the only great racing however, this was one of those races that no matter where you looked there was always a good amount of fighting for spots and drama all over the track, which is not something we always get in races.
This race was not just successful on the track in terms of racing, off the track fans looked to be everywhere around the track to watch the race. Many fans at the track that have spoken about it said that it was a great race and one of the better on track experiences they have been too. NASCAR having oval tracks means some track experiences can all tend to feel the same, with road courses they are so big they have a chance to be different by offering different viewpoints and way bigger sites for the fan experience, and from what I have heard they did a great job all weekend for the fans.
The last thing that the track needs to pass the test and become the new 4th of July tradition is if the drivers like it and seeing as no drivers have openly spoke out about the race it would seem that we have now found a perfect replacement for the 4th of July weekend that can grow to be one of the best races on the schedule if it stays,