Drivers, fans, and media have been vocal in their displeasure with NASCAR and Roger Penske’s decision to run the Indianapolis road course instead of the oval that the Brickyard 400 has been run on since the track was put on the schedule. It was puzzling when it was announced and it still doesn’t make sense why they would choose to mess with a crown jewel event.
That being said, if you take away the disappointment in the event being messed with, the race itself was extremely entertaining until some late-race carnage caused some lengthy stoppages. I left my couch being satisfied with the race despite a disappointing finish – though congrats to A.J. Allmendinger – and I hope that NASCAR does return to the road course, but not at the expense of losing the Brickyard 400.
I still want to see the oval comeback. Yes, that race can be boring and sometimes isn’t a great race, but it’s still a historic event that I’m disappointed we aren’t getting this year. This is a race that no driver in 2021 will have a chance to put on their resume. I hope that this year is the only year where a name doesn’t get added to a historic list of past Brickyard 400 winners.
Indianapolis is easily an established and beloved enough venue to be given a second date. I would argue there are a few race dates that could be given to a second Indy date so that we can have the Brickyard 400 crown jewel that we all know, and the road course that I think was one of the better road course races all year.
There are three races in particular that I think we should take a date away from to make room for both. All three of these currently have two dates on the schedule and the racing, ratings, and market do not warrant them.
Kansas is like every 1.5-mile track, it can provide great racing or terrible racing, it’s a mixed bag and you never know what you’re going to get. The track itself has never been a source of resentment for the fanbase, but nobody has ever been excited for us to go there either.
It has always been on the lower end of the rating scale compared to similar tracks, and the market isn’t anything that should entice NASCAR to keep them with two dates. However, the thought of continuing to lose 1.5-mile tracks for road courses does give me a bad feeling.
I think this has been on everyone’s wish list to lose a date, and honestly would be my number one. The only thing keeping this track from my number one spot is I know how unlikely it is that NASCAR and SMI would take a date away. The system at large has been desperately trying to make this an entertaining race track since its inception to no avail.
I see no reason why this track couldn’t go down to having one race a year, especially if they keep the All-Star race at the venue. This is a big market, and I have no problem with one of these races staying on the schedule, but I don’t believe the interest from fans or racing itself is enough to warrant a second date.
I firmly believe that the championship track should only be featured one time a year, and allow all final four competitors to come into the race green to it that year. Add this to the fact that Pheonix has always been a lackluster race, and there is no need to keep an early date on the schedule.
The racing has always been stale, and ratings have never been high outside of the championship race. These numbers would occur at any track we raced at to decide the champion, so it’s not much of saving grace. Bad racing, poor ratings, poor fan interest, and a smaller market translates to a big question of why this track has always had two dates, to begin with.