Explanations & Excuses
1. I have used a hierarchical structure for deciding on a track’s inclusion into categories. If a track is used in Cup and Busch races it will fall under Cup tracks. Likewise, for former tracks (no longer used by Nascar) the track will be in the category for the top event in which it was used. Current use over-rides former use: a former Cup track that is currently used for a Busch race will be in the Current Busch series. BTW--I know that some tracks listed for former series are not in "original" configuration. There's nothing I can do about that. I leave them in place until I have something more pristine to deal with.
2. I will probably change some of my indexing methods (especially for other tracks and fictionals) since 160 tracks turned into 350 making navigation more unwieldly. You'll know it when it happens. Maybe a complete alphabetical listing, maybe several variations, I don't know. For now, if you don't see the track you're looking for, make sure you check different categories. For instance, one might not think to look under 'Former Busch' tracks for the Walt Disney World Speedway but that's where it is. I might add also that I have been known to make occasional mistakes--please point them out.
3. For my purposes here, track records are the top NASCAR qualifying times on all tracks. Indy cars and others may actually have better speeds but I have not documented those here. Most real track records have been updated over the track info that appeared in the original NR 2003 game. I use Racing-Reference.com for most of my facts here; I looked at all the races for a particular track and took the fastest pole time. Read number 7 below to see how I handled non-Nascar and fictional tracks.
4. Drawings are representative and are not scaled in any way other than to my expectations for a reasonably close resemblance. I have not included seating charts, facility charts, or (except on rare occasions) alternate configurations such as inner or inclusive roadway courses that utilize the stock car features of the track. This achieves two things: in many cases it gives a better visualization of the track. A secondary benefit is that the track map can be printed and subsequently annotated with observations, gearing and speeds at various points, etc. (Note: Ok, I am doing the alternate road-course versions of speedways but they are listed as separate tracks).
5. Track directions are all counter-clockwise (left-hand turns) unless indicated otherwise by arrows on track diagrams. If the orientation doesn't look right to you, flip it over vertically. See? Same difference. No, I think my problem sometimes is I have to look at the clock to figure out what clockwise is. I was using right arrows to show directions against the grain and thinking that was counter-clockwise. Doh. Clockwise is clockwise whether you start from the bottom or the top.
6. I generally have left out numbering the turns on road course maps. One reason is discussed in a roundabout way on the Bridgehampton page. Another is to keep the look clean and leave room, in the event that it is printed, to write notes and even to number the turns as a person thinks they should really be. I will, whenever possible, offer an alternate view with turn numbers included.
7. Track records for 'other' tracks was problematic; some tracks had no listed record and others would list it at some outrageous figure like 17,000 mph. Where the record speed was reasonable I would leave it in place and annotate it "GS" ("Set by game" or, more accurately, set by the track designer). I have no problem if the record speed is held by the person who built the track if it is reasonable--they deserve it. For the others I finally arrived at the solution of running Quick Race Qualifying at 100% and letting the AI set the track record. This gives one something to reach for without being "out there". These records and track.ini changes are meaningless to those who don't race N2K3 but I include them for those folks like me who do. On another level, everyone's game will have a different record for the top AI speed. Mine is just a reference point. I suppose if a number of gamers were to get together and find a consensus benchmark for these tracks that I would go with that figure. For now, I will use my solution. Look under Files for my track spreadsheets to see where I've gone with this. I should point out also that I know some trackmakers have copied over the track.ini stanzas from a base track and the records they have listed will be meaningless; I will catch those as I go along or as you point them out.
8. Even more about track records: I originally ran everywhere in Cup cars as did everyone. With the arrival of 2-dozen mods the process becomes more complicated. With the last batch of added tracks I started trying to include records for PTA, CTS and GNS along with Cup records. I will update the earlier ones at such time as I'm: 1.) able, 2) have time, or 3) feel like it. In the meantime, if you want benchmarks I strongly recommend visiting Nascar Rank and more specifically their TrackList pages. It's a great tool that we need to support.
9. Here's another thing I'm aware of in case you are convinced that I'm a total moron: I know that track authors have taken artistic license with pit roads at some short tracks to accommodate larger starting fields. I have generally (as in nearly always) used their representation when making my drawings. If it offends your sensibilities that some accuracy has been lost then get some whiteout and go to work on your monitor. Or make your own drawing--I'm all about getting the general shape of the track right but the 'real' pit roads don't interest me that much since I will never be allowed to drive on one.
10. About colors. Why are some different? Hmmm. Well let's just say that after drawing a hundred or so tracks a person could get slightly bored. Especially if that person has just drawn a bunch of short tracks that don't really vary that much in shape. So it's not that any particular track is boring, but the process itself becomes tedius. That person might then do any number of things to keep his interest up. Including color experiments. A few may actually be thematic, based on logo or included track graphics colors.
11. Readme files. If everyone would stick a simple readme into their track install files it would be much easier to assure proper credits. For some tracks it is a real snafu when this little piece is missing. Face it: authors move on, web sites go down, tracks end up on different servers. I've found more information in the table notes at NR2K3Tracks sometimes then I've found with the track install files. Unacceptable. If nothing else the information could be provided in the Track.ini itself--check out one of DDawgs tracks for the right way to do this. As it is I will be going through my entire list again to attempt to provide this info where it is missing. Admittedly I was lax on doing this when I began the project.
12. A hint on printing track maps: I use an older version of ACDSee to catalog and view the images on my drives. If you use a program with similar features, I've found that printing a track graphic that is 760 pixels wide using the 'Fit To Page' option looks no different to me than printing the same picture that has been saved at 2770 pixels wide.
© 2006-2007 Lyndon Karber.