My Thoughts on the Brickyard 400
Obviously as an IndyCar fan, in my world Indianapolis Motor Speedway is solely for the Indy 500. The Brickyard 400 broke that tradition. Logically, I have no problem with that, and have long since got over other series being at the Speedway. A track as special as IMS deserves to be showcased more than once a year. Financially it has been very important to IndyCar. The Speedway has needed the money it makes from the Brickyard 400 to keep the IndyCar Series afloat. It’s an unfortunate reality, but it’s the reality nonetheless. Thus for those reasons, I hope the Brickyard is a success today and remains a jewel in the NASCAR schedule for years to come.
In the end for me, it’s mostly simple distrust of most of NASCAR. It’s not a particularly mature take, but that’s how I feel. Yes, I certainly think that when Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon and praising the Speedway they get, but I’m not sure most of the rest of them care. I definitely don’t think most of the NASCAR fans watching on TV care. For them, the specialness wore off long ago, and now it’s just a long race where no one can pass (shocking, a track built 40 years before stock cars existed isn’t built for stock cars). Despite this, IMS is of course expected to bend over backwards for them, up to and including adding lights.
Most of my distrust though is towards those who run NASCAR. I understand competition, but I truly feel that those who run NASCAR want IndyCar dead. Stone cold dead. If they want it around, it’s only so it will help NASCAR make improvements to its tracks. Brian France all but said that in an interview with the Indianapolis Star this week.
Our hope is that they will get stronger because we run at a number of the same venues and if they can contribute to those venues that need all kinds of capital and improvements, (that) would be a win for us.
However, France let the cat out of the bag on a question of whether he was interested in IndyCar and the Nationwide Series sharing a race weekend.
No. Nationwide is significantly ahead of the Indy Racing League in terms of its television ratings and attendance and everything else with the exception, obviously, of the Indy 500. We wouldn’t want to mix that. They have to stand on their own, and we have to stand on our own.
Yes, they have to stand their own. That’s true. However, no one could’ve looked at Nationwide’s crowd at Chicagoland and say they’re “significantly ahead” with a straight face. The TV ratings Nationwide gets aren’t “significantly ahead” of what IndyCar’s ABC races get. Yes, NBC Sports Network ratings are terrible, but NASCAR just signed up with that network, so we’ll see what happens. Also, note that he used “Indy Racing League.” It’s been IndyCar officially for two years now. If someone is using Indy Racing League or IRL, it’s to put down the series and put a negative thought about it in people’s minds. It’s not an accident. It’s intentional.
Again, I want the Brickyard 400 to be successful for the Speedway’s sake, and when it comes to the NBC deal, I’m hoping the increased exposure to NBCSN can help IndyCar. We’ll wait and see on that. In the end though, when it was comes to NASCAR, my eye is permanently jaundiced, and Brian France has justified that skepticism.