Stock car racing is relatively new to the 103 year history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NASCAR brought the Sprint Cup, their premier division, to the track for the first time in 1994. Now for the first time the NASCAR Nationwide series, their "minor league" division, will be competing in their first race at the 2.5mi track this Saturday July 28th. For the Nationwide Series to compete at the track they had to get ride of one other date on their schedule and that race was taken from their next door neighbors at the Indianapolis Raceway Park, a .6 mile track. Although this is a big deal for the series to be competing at IMS but I have to say, is bigger always better?
I'm sure most of the Nationwide Series competitors are really excited to get the chance to compete at the most historic track in all of motorsports, but as a fan I have to wonder, is the competition going to be worth it? The Nationwide Series races get very spread out when they are racing at tracks over a mile in length, and with the flat 2.5mi surface I predict a very uncompetitive race this Saturday. Even though many of the racers are excited to race at IMS in the Nationwide Series many drivers are really sadened not to be racing at the .6mi short track at IRP. The drivers are going to miss the dieing art of short track racing in NASCAR and the beating and banging that goes with it. Besides the competition aspect of going there I think having too many races at IMS would lose a little of the prestige of the track. From 1909 to 1994 the track only saw one race a year and since then it's added two more events with the Sprint Cup series and occasionally the Formula One and Le Mans Series as well. I believe that winning at Indy should be held for the highest series in racing as it currently stood up until this year.
Saturday is going to be a huge moment for the Nationwide Series, but I hope that after a trial run at IMS they will axe the idea and return to IRP very soon!