SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Three years ago, NASCAR moved its date at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the IMS road course, putting the Brickyard 400 on the oval on hiatus.
After a few years of stock cars on the road course, talks have resurfaced about putting NASCAR drivers back on the IMS oval and bringing back the Brickyard 400.
In the days after the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard back in August, NASCAR and Goodyear conducted a tire test with the NextGen car currently being run by the NASCAR Cup Series.
“The test went really, really well,” said IMS President Doug Boles. “We had two days of testing with three cars, one from each manufacturer. Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, and Ty Gibbs.”
Calling the test successful, Boles said now they are taking the information they collected and will decide whether or not to bring back the Brickyard 400.
The race was put to the sidelines after 2020 due to waning attendance numbers and a lack of compelling racing due to the single-file running and not a lot of passing nature the race had taken on.
Ever since the race was put on hiatus, drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series have been pressuring the series to revisit bringing the IMS oval back into the fold. Richard Childress Racing driver Kyle Busch has spoken to that saying the consensus among drivers is that they want to race on the oval at Indy.
But, Busch said some of the responsibility for bringing the oval race back lies with the fans.
“I think they switched it because they kind of saw the oval was a little dull and they wanted to get fans to come out and support it and be in the grandstands and put on a little more exciting racing, I guess, by putting on the road course,” Busch said. “If the fans are in agreement that they want the oval back then (the fans) better show up and support it. Otherwise, it’s going to go away.”
“Right now what we’re trying to do is finalize our schedule with the NASCAR schedule and the IndyCar schedule,” Doug Boles said. “If I was betting, I’d bet we are back on the oval, although that decision hasn’t totally been made yet.”
Boles said a decision will likely be announced on the future of NASCAR’s date at IMS by no later than the end of September.
If they decide to stay on the road course next year, Boles said it likely means that IMS would be able to keep “The Double” for at least another year. “The Double” has involved NASCAR and IndyCar sharing the IMS road course during the same weekend for the last three years.
If the decision is finalized to bring the Brickyard 400 back in 2024, The Double would be very unlikely to happen. However, Boles said it would be just in time for the 30th anniversary of the inaugural running back in 1994 when Jeff Gordon won in front of a hometown crowd, in what would be the first of five wins he would eventually accrue in the race.
“It’d be kind of cool, in my mind,” Boles said. “The 30th anniversary of the Brickyard 400, Jeff Gordon’s win, to go back to the oval to celebrate what is our history with that race. We’ll see what happens.”
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