NASCAR, stop fooling yourself into thinking stock cars at Indianapolis can work.
Why do we continue this charade of “NASCAR belongs at The Brickyard” and “shares in its prestigious history?”
We don’t belong.
Last year’s Brickyard 400 drew an estimated 50,000 people to a venue that holds 250,000 last year. This supposed “crown jewel” race only filled up 20 percent of the seats. Meanwhile, last year’s Indianapolis 500 was run in front of a sold-out crowd.
The attendance is a joke. We don’t attract sellout crowds to Indianapolis Motor Speedway anymore, and haven’t done so for a number of years.
The racing is atrocious. The low banking of the turns and lack of horsepower in the cars makes passing another car on track next to impossible. The cars aren’t heavy enough with downforce that they can just slingshot around another like IndyCar drivers do in the Indianapolis 500 and don’t have the throttle response to complement the low downforce on the cars now.
I can’t think of one standout race that was fantastic through the overall running and didn’t just have a memorable finish. But I can think of awful races over the years. There was the tire-debacle race of 2008 where tires blew out every 10 laps, the high-downforce disaster of 2015 and last year’s snoozer.
There was talk of putting the cars on the infield road course at Indianapolis, but that was killed about a week ago. Now NASCAR is going with a new gimmick for a sacred venue like The Brickyard, restrictor plates. That’s right, instead of more throttle response, we’re going to try even less. And they’re not even doing it for safety reasons like at Daytona and Talladega, and Loudon in 2000. This is to “enhance” the competition. I’m not a fan of contrived measures to “enhance” the competition.
They’ll use the XFINITY Series race as a guinea pig to see how it plays out. If it works, it’s coming to the Cup level for Indy next year.
And since I brought it up, let’s talk about the pathetic joke that is the XFINITY Series at The Brickyard. NASCAR left great short track racing at Lucas Oil Raceway Park right across town and replaced it with follow the leader, unwatchable garbage. Why? Because Indy pays a larger purse and they could afford to pay NASCAR’s expensive sanctioning fees.
In other words, chasing after the money is what got us here. To hell with what produces great racing, let’s take a series already losing any identity it once had away from yet another short track and to yet another downforce-centric track just because it pays more money.
Now if this does work, I’ll happily eat my words. Feel free to cc this to Freezing Cold Takes (@OldTakesExposed) when the XFINITY Series race concludes if plates make it better. But past history at Loudon in 2000 and IROC at Indianapolis tells me I’d be safe betting on not likely.
Bottom line: The attendance is abysmal and the racing is dreadful. NASCAR isn’t adding to the legacy of The Brickyard. If anything, NASCAR is tainting it by putting on such horrendous racing. Let’s cut our losses, leave Indianapolis and find another race track that’s more suited for stock car racing.
That’s my take for what it’s worth.