SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Brickyard Weekend is upon us. It’s the 30th installment of a NASCAR Cup Series event here, the first dating back to 1994 with the inaugural Brickyard 400.
The race was run on the oval 27 more times after that until 2021 when NASCAR and IMS decided to move the race to the road course.
The move was perpetrated by several factors which included dwindling attendance for the oval race along with what many called a dwindling race product as well.
Talk of returning to the oval has been around ever since the move to the road course was first made, and in the last year or so, talks of moving the race back to the oval have gained a lot of traction.
“I’ve enjoyed the road course. I think it’s something we’ll continue to do in the future,” Boles said. “The question is ‘Do we go back to the oval? Do we rotate between the oval and road course?’.”
We may know sooner rather than later, depending on how a planned Goodyear tire test goes next week. A few NASCAR teams will be sticking around at IMS on Monday and Tuesday next week to test out Goodyear’s latest tires to see if they will hold up on the diamond-grinded racing surface.
Furthermore, the test will see how NASCAR’s Next-Gen car handles since it has never turned laps on the IMS oval before.
“We’ll make a decision later this summer on what 2024 will look like,” Boles said. “Once they test, that will be a good time to sit down and talk about ‘Do we come back to the oval or do we keep this weekend format’.”
Boles added that they would “get those things solved in the next few weeks.”
Boles speculates that if they return stock car racing to the IMS oval that it will effectively kill the NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader format as it would likely not work out logistically to switch between the road course and the oval.
IndyCar has already been in talks about adding another venue to the 2024 calendar, whether that may or may not replace the Brickyard weekend date is unclear.
NTT IndyCar Series owner Roger Penske met with representatives at the Milwaukee Mile earlier this year which heated up speculation that the series may return there for the first time in two decades.
Listen to IMS President Doug Boles talk about the possibility of the Brickyard 400 returning to the IMS oval:
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