Every year the debate seems to surface regarding whether or not the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series should or should not be racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The arguments against auto racing’s top division competing on the 2.5-mile track are many. The racing isn’t particularly good, the grandstands look empty, it’s a track meant for IndyCar, and there are other facilities better suited for stock cars are among the complaints against the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard. And all of these arguments have some degree of merit.
However, there is one thing that cannot be disputed when it comes to this particular track.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the premier racing facility in the world. Of course, there are other race tracks with great history, but this one laid the ground work for all the others. The history associated with this track cannot be denied.
If NASCAR is to be considered a top tier form of racing- which it is -it has to conduct races on the biggest stages. And this is the biggest stage in all of motorsports. When asked to list the most famous race tracks in the world any person who follows the sport will mention venues such as Daytona, Monaco, LeMans, Spa, Monza, Talladega, Darlington and Silverstone. But Indianapolis is often the first on the list of many who follow racing even among these other great places.
This track, perhaps more than most others, is susceptible to aerodynamic issues which make it difficult for cars to pass. As a result, stock cars tend to get strung out around the 2.5-mile layout for long stretches at a time which does not make for the most exciting racing.
And more, there is so much grandstand seating that the place can look empty even with a bigger crowd than almost every other track on the NASCAR schedule. Remember, even with 80,000 people on hand at IMS there would be a vast number of unoccupied seats.
And no matter how noteworthy the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard might become, it will always be the second biggest event held on this venue.
But even with all of that, this is still the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It isn’t Kansas or Chicagoland or Fontana or New Hampshire. It’s the Indianapolis Motor Speedway- the world’s premier racing facility.
With all of its history, it’s mystique, it’s majesty, and it’s place in the motor racing world, this is a place where NASCAR’s top division(and only its top division) should be racing.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
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