Following a successful unveiling of the remodeled Indianapolis Motor Speedway where the first crossover event featuring NASCAR’s Cup and Xfinity Series and the NTT IndyCar Series took place, IMS and IndyCar owner Roger Penske says he would welcome the chance to create more mashups with NASCAR president Steve Phelps.
With IndyCar and the Xfinity Series tackling the IMS road course prior to Cup closing the weekend on the big oval with the Brickyard 400, The Captain came away feeling inspired by the future possibilities of open-wheel and stock car racing working together at more venues.
“I can’t speak for Steve, but the first thing we had to do was be able to show, at least the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, that we had the ability to pivot from a road course to an oval and provide a safe environment for the drivers,” Penske said of separating the IndyCar and NASCAR paddocks while racing without fans in attendance.
“On top of that, with COVID, we had three different series and they all came in and out in different places. The only time they really passed is when they were removing the gear from the IndyCar race into the garage and Xfinity when it was coming out. But I assume that we’re going to be able to get together with NASCAR, and I’d like to see another couple of races next year. We certainly would like to do the Brickyard again. That would be my goal. And we’re able to execute it, even with the COVID requirements from the CDC. I think it was a great win.”
Although it’s too early to speculate where IndyCar and NASCAR might share other tracks in 2021, Penske is confident the experiment last weekend at Indianapolis is worth continuing and apply to more circuits where the series’ share annual visits.
“Number one, the costs are less,” he added. “You’ve got more fan value for the weekend, which people want. The difference between the series, the use of the road course; we’ve got something special there where we have road course and oval at Indy, and we need to look at that at other places.
“So, the short answer is yes. I’ve had good conversations with Steve Phelps. I haven’t asked him yes or no (about doing more races), but I would say that I think with his team, we can have a very fruitful discussion about ’21.”