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Friday, September 24, 2021

NASCAR drivers bemoan lack of Indianapolis oval “crown jewel”

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The race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval as soon as boasted the most important crowd of the season, with over 250,000 attending at its peak, however in current pre-pandemic years has struggled to draw 50,000 followers within the stands.

Ever for the reason that 2008 race – which featured NASCAR throwing competitors cautions each 10 laps or so to forestall tyre blowouts – attendance has waned.

The declining crowd numbers prompted a protracted look by the monitor and NASCAR over the way forward for the venue on the Cup schedule.

As an alternative of scrapping the race altogether, it was decided to move it to the 14-turn, 2.439-mile Indianapolis street course.

The Xfinity Collection made its debut on the course final 12 months to rave opinions and NASCAR and IMS hope the transfer for the Cup Collection will inject some new life into the occasion.

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The NASCAR weekend can be being paired, for the second consecutive season, with an IndyCar race.

Lots of the Cup Collection’ high stars perceive the explanations for the change for this weekend’s fixture but additionally don’t assume the brand new race will stay a “crown jewel” on the schedule.

“We misplaced a crown jewel – I don’t assume anybody will think about the Indy street course any type of crown jewel race,” mentioned Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver Hamlin, who’s tied on factors with Kyle Larson heading into this weekend’s contest.

“We are able to’t simply maintain including street programs – possibly alternate or one thing, however actually I believe the Brickyard is particular due to the oval, not due to the street course.”

Kevin Harvick, who gained the final race to be held on the Indianapolis oval – in July final 12 months – added: “For me, driving by means of that tunnel and understanding the historical past and every thing that comes with racing on the oval on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one thing I at all times sit up for.


“I can’t think about driving backward on the frontstretch and driving the street course within the infield. It’s an oval factor for me.

“I’m positive I’ll recover from it as we begin to get into apply and realise it’s simply one other race however, for me, it’s going to be a tough hurdle to beat.”

Hamlin and Harvick’s views are echoed by two-time NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch, who feels there may be not the “identical attract being on the street course”, including: “I don’t view it as Indy – Indy is the oval.”

Nonetheless, Trackhouse Chevrolet driver Daniel Suarez feels it’s simply vital Indianapolis is on the calendar, whatever the configuration.

“I like Indianapolis it doesn’t matter what form it’s in,” he mentioned. “I like going there and seeing a lot historical past.

“There are lots of followers that love street course racing and it’s including completely different markets.”

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