Turn 2 Blog: Reddick and RCR strong despite announcement & Should NASCAR race on Indy oval?

*Turn 2 Blog is a regular feature on InsideCircleTrack.com. Here, site operators Michael Moats and Richard Allen take turns offering their thoughts on the NASCAR and pavement short track racing topics of the day.

The Hy-Vee supermarket chain went all out to promote the recent IndyCar double-header at the Iowa Speedway. Is more enthusiastic promotion of this kind needed in all forms of racing?

Richard: For any company that chooses to sponsor a race, it is in their best interest for the event to do as well as possible. An empty grandstand serves no one well. With that in mind, Hy-Vee went to great lengths to offer a product that people would want to be a part of.

Florida-Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani were among those who played in concert leading up to the two races. Employees of the company were given tickets. All Hy-Vee stores were fully adorned with posters and other sorts of reminders that the race was coming. And from the look of the grandstand each day, the chain’s efforts succeeded.

It goes to show that hard working promotion can still work. And this is true whether it be an IndyCar race, a NASCAR Cup Series race or a $5,000-to-win Dirt Late Model race.

Promoting a racing event or a series at any level is hard to do and it’s expensive but it can work when done right. The days of simply swinging the gate open and expecting people to come streaming in are long gone. There are too many other options out there and potential customers will not seek out a race so it is up to the promoters to seek the potential customers out.

Having a company such as Hy-Vee come on board and do what they did for the IndyCar weekend at Iowa was a major help to the speedway as well as their own company. For all forms of racing to have supporters like that would be amazing.

Michael: I didn’t see any of those races. But I’ve heard good things about everything Hy-Vee did around that event. I definitely think other companies should follow suit.

Food City is a local grocery store chain that has been a sponsor of racing at Bristol Motor Speedway for 30 years. I could see a business like them take an idea like this and make their own unique promotion.

The sad thing is that it looks like most of the NASCAR tracks aren’t interested in putting as many people in the stands as they can. Tracks make a ton of money from the TV networks. As long as that is the case, we’ll continue to see most races have 50-60% capacity.

Is it surprising that the No 8 Richard Childress Racing car was as good as it was on Sunday at Indianapolis despite the announcement that Tyler Reddick is leaving for 23XI Racing in 2024?

Richard: Of course, the standard line when something like this happens is for all involved to come out and say, “We’re all professionals and we’re going to do our best to be successful”. But the reality is that these professionals are human beings and there’s no way the members of RCR can’t help but feel a bit abandoned and there’s no way Reddick can’t help but to look ahead to where he is going.

Obviously, Reddick had to do what he felt was best for his career. At the same time, it is in RCR’s best interest to do as well as they can to show potential drivers that their car is a good option. But like I said, they are all human beings.

So, I would say yes, I am a bit surprised that the No. 8 Chevrolet was as good as it was on Sunday and Reddick’s drive was phenomenal as he had to battle with the misplaced Ross Chastain over the closing laps. The real test going forward will be whether or not all involved can maintain this level of competitiveness into the NASCAR Playoffs and then into 2023.

They are all professionals, so we’ll see what happens as time rolls on.

Tyler Reddick & RCR won despite announcing they will part way in 2024

Michael: It appears Reddick is becoming the latest road course ace. We can see a situation between he and Chase Elliott dominating most of the road course races like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart did in the 2000’s.

It would be in the best interest of RCR to continue to field competitive cars for Reddick to draw interest from other drivers to fill that seat. Austin Dillon hasn’t been moving the needle of late for RCR.

It is an awkward situation to have a lame duck driver for another season and a half. Childress wouldn’t let Harvick leave early in a similar circumstance. I think something will be worked out by season’s end to let Reddick go to 23XI for ’23. We may see something crazy like a trade where Reddick goes to 23XI a year early in exchange for Kurt Busch and some cash.

There was a lot going on throughout most of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Is racing on that particular road course the best option at what is probably the most famous racing venue in the world?

Richard: There were parts of the race on Sunday in which it did almost seem like a circus rather than a premier racing facility. That was highlighted by the fact that Ross Chastain blasted through an access road on the final restart and even, seemingly, took the lead of the race.

For that matter, turn one was a calamity corner all day with cars running into each other and driving off the track. And don’t forget how the curbing created all sorts of disaster in last year’s race.

I know this is not a popular opinion, but I have always maintained that NASCAR should be racing on the same 2.5-mile oval used for the Indianapolis 500. The racing may not have always been great but it’s the world’s most historic race track.

And who knows, with the way the Next Gen car has improved racing at some other tracks, it might turn IMS into a great show. I would not be disappointed if it were to be announced that NASCAR will return to the oval in 2023.

What would be even better than that would be for the NASCAR Xfinity Series to join the NASCAR Truck Series on the paved half-mile Lucas Oil Raceway next year.

Michael: My one complaint about the Indy road course is lack of elevation changes throughout the course. It’s flat. I think that takes away some of the interesting aspects of road course racing.

I am glad to see the Xfinity Series going back to IRP. That series should have never left there. But I agree the Cup Series needs to race on the oval. If the racing cannot be made good, then move it to another track.

Please consider also reading:

Turn 2 Blog: Is Brandon Sheppard “back”?

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