Based on driver feedback and data from a test held last week, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will compete on the 14-turn road course layout at Indianapolis later this year.
Matt DiBenedetto ran the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang at Indy last Wednesday. New track owner Roger Penske, flanked by other Speedway officials, announced January 15 that the Xfinity Series would move off the oval and run the road course on July 4.
DiBenedetto’s feedback was highly supportive of the 14-turn layout being the way to go. Officials also had DiBenedetto run a 12-course design, but his immediate reaction, according to Xfinity Series managing director Wayne Auton was “Oh, hell no.”
“It was fun to listen to him,” said Auton during a pre-season media briefing Tuesday afternoon. “He (DiBenedetto) gave us a lot of input. We had a really good time there, and he did a fantastic job for us.
“We want to put on the best race we can. We got on the racetrack about 9:30 in the morning, and by the 11:30 lunch break, Matt told us what he thought was going to be able to put on the best race. With what we could see with him running the 14-turn compared to the 12-turn — definitely, it’s going to (be) a great race.”
Based on data acquired by Goodyear during the test, teams will use a tire combination with which they are familiar: the same setup run at both Road America and Mid-Ohio.
Auton also revealed that teams would not have the opportunity to test on the road course; however, they will be given an extended practice session during the July 3-5 race weekend. NASCAR officials did the same for the first race on the Charlotte Roval.
Race specifics such as stage lengths and race distance are still to be determined.