The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is just around the corner, but I can't help but wonder how this race could be so much better.
Indy. It's one of, if not the most iconic speedway in all of motorsports. Drivers dream of the chance to just compete on its sacred grounds. To win at IMS is the ultimate goal of any driver and one few are fortunate enough to attain such an accomplishment.
This weekend is the 20th anniversary of NASCAR's Brickyard 400 and drivers are eager to get another shot at kissing the bricks. Every time NASCAR heads to Indy though, there's a downside. The event itself is usually quite monotonous and far from spectacular.
The only time a race with stock cars on a flat, single grove track is going to be exciting is when it's a place like Martinsville or New Hampshire. It just doesn't work at a massive, 2.5 mile circuit. It's perfect for IndyCar, not so much for stock cars.
You'll never hear a NASCAR driver say that it's a bad place to race because as a driver, you want to race at Indy no matter what kind of show it is for the fans. That's perfectly understandable and I fully agree that NASCAR needs to be at Indianapolis. But, it doesn't have to be such a dull show year after year either.
I got one word for you....roval. It's a term applied to ovals such as Indy that also double as a road course. NASCAR should be racing on the Grand Prix circuit as it's formally called. They are still at Indy, they're still kissing the bricks at the end of the day, but the fans will actually enjoy what they've seen.
And I don't agree with the contingent that says it would dilute the prestige of the race if they stray from just using the oval. The Tudor United Sportscar and MotoGP guys utilize the infield course, and the race remains one of the crown jewels of their seasons. IndyCar now competes on it as a lead up to the big show, and it was a fantastic race when they did it earlier this year.
The oval was not made to support NASCAR races, the same way it wasn't made to support sports car, bike, or Formula One races. The oval is for Indy, and Indy alone. NASCAR can compete on the oval, but it isn't much of a show, is it?
I think drivers would take much more plesure out of winning Indy when it's a 'balls to the wall' and 'let the rough side drag' kind of event. We've see the stock car races at roadies such as Sonoma and Watkins Glen every year and they are two of the most grueling, brutal races on the schedule.
So that's my proposal. NASCAR has to be at Indy, but they don't have to be on the oval.