There is no question that the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has lost some of its luster. Sunday's race, won by Indiana native Ryan Newman, was the 20th installment of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' annual trip to the track they call the Brickyard.
Back in 1994 when Jeff Gordon won the inaugural race, it was a big deal. NASCAR was in the hallowed grounds where the open-wheel greats made their names famous worldwide.
The 2.5 mile layout with two long straights and two shorter ones and four distinct corners does not really bode well for good NASCAR racing. Throw in that there is hardly any banking and only really one groove in the corners and the show just isn't that great as far as close racing and passing is concerned.
Sunday seemed to be a typical Brickyard 400 where the leader would pull away. The Gen-6 car wasn't going to change that. Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson had two cars that were in a class by themselves. At some points in the race, when long green flag runs were occurring, the third place car was nearly 15 seconds behind the lead duo.
But this is the type of racing that NASCAR will get at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a 400 mile event. Even the NASCAR Nationwide Series, which just completed its second ever 250 miles race at the Brickyard on Saturday, didn't provide very good racing. The end got exciting with late restarts and the fact that Kyle Busch had to work his way back the lead but for 95 percent of the race there was no action at all.
There is no question that NASCAR fans want more of what they saw on Wednesday night in the Camping World Truck Series at Eldora Speedway. A return to short tracks at least not that it has to be dirt. NASCAR can't fill the 250,000 seats at IMS anymore. The event's newness has worn off and the fans just are not coming in the same numbers. There are rumors that IMS will be adding lights and that the Brickyard 400 will become a night race. That will certainly spark interest again but only for so long.
Even with all that said NASCAR at Indy still is worthwhile. All the drivers want to win there. It is a place where legends in racing have made their name. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon tried on Sunday to put their name at the top of the list with Michael Schumacher as the only five-time winners at the track. They will try again next year.
NASCAR should keep going to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Even if the racing is boring there is so much on the line with drivers wanting to enter the history books at the historic track that it is still a worthwhile race. Short tracks do need to return to the schedule more often but not at the expense of the Brickyard 400. Sometimes history should outweigh racing.
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- Kyle Busch Sets Nationwide Series Pole Record at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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