What if the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Raceway Park alternated NASCAR dates following the 2021 schedule shake-up? That could be a legitimate possibility as NASCAR looks to add more short tracks to their three touring series schedules.
The Brickyard 400 has been considered a “Crown Jewel” on the NASCAR schedule since its inception 25 years ago. After a rapid decline in popularity and attendance, many have asked if IMS should remain on the NASCAR schedule.
A mere 7.7 miles from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway sits Lucas Oil Raceway Park. A .5 mile oval with 12 degrees of banking and the ability to put on the races NASCAR fans have been clamoring for. It’s essentially the exact opposite of the monstrous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A tight, confined oval on the outskirts of town. A track where aerodynamics don’t matter and the leader won’t have a 7-second lead because of clean air. It’s not a dream, it’s just IRP.
NASCAR hasn’t raced at IRP since the 2011 season when both the Xfinity and Truck Series held events there. NASCAR decided to move the Xfinity race to IMS in 2012 and the trucks to Eldora. Moving Xfinity to IMS will go down on the long list of bad ideas NASCAR has had. Instead of running a competitive race in front of a reported 36,000 people they opted to run a follow the leader race in front of hundreds of people at IMS to appease sponsors and their hospitality guests.
Things Could Change Though
A person I’ve spoken to within NASCAR indicated the sanctioning body is looking at IRP for future events. It fits the direction NASCAR fans desperately want the series to move towards and it keeps the series in motorsports hotbed Indianapolis. Not to mention IRP just announced $10M in improvements to the grounds. That doesn’t mean NASCAR is coming by any means but it also doesn’t mean they aren’t prepping for the future.
NASCAR however though may not want to lose a “crown jewel” and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While the racing there is generally more boring than The Walking Dead spending 4 seasons in a god damn prison it is still the mystique of the speedway. So why not alternate dates?
One season fans can be treated to great short track racing. And the next they can be treated to the most famous race track in the world. Except they’ll be sitting in $95 turn one seats clamoring for a return to IRP.
The allure of IMS has worn off on fans. The racing is bad, the visuals of 200k empty seats are bad and most of all no one seems to care anymore. Unless you’re going to have a 2008 debacle or a calamity-filled race like 2017 there is nothing entertaining about the Brickyard 400 anymore. The Indy 500 will forever be the best race in the world, the Brickyard 400 should yield way and NASCAR should head back to the short track.
The idea of running IRP has spread within NASCAR as well. When asked how intense Indy will be this weekend Joey Logano’s spotter TJ Majors said on “I think it will be intense 3 years from now when they go to IRP. HAHA Just Kidding.” No, you weren’t TJ. You can check out what he said on Door Bumper Clear.
More short tracks.