Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host a NASCAR/IndyCar doubleheader in August 2021, and both will use the road course.
IMS track president Doug Boles announced a change to NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 on Wednesday morning, which puts Cup Series driver on the same 14-turn road course as IndyCar. The NTT IndyCar Series will run on August 14 with the Cup Series race on August. 15.
“This year, we got to do something really cool, the first time you had IndyCar and NASCAR on the same weekend at the same racetrack, and it was a fantastic opportunity for us,” said Boles. “The bummer was we didn’t get to have any fans. So, we’ve been thinking about 2021 and continuing that tradition of IndyCar and NASCAR on the same weekend, so we’re going to do it again, but we’re going to throw a little bit of twist in there.
“We’re going to do it completely on our 14-turn road course. So, that means the Indy cars will be there, and the Cup cars will be on the road course. Same weekend, same racetrack, same layout.”
The Xfinity Series ran the road course for the first time this season (pictured above). IndyCar was also in town that same weekend. However, the two garages were not able to interact because of COVID-19 restrictions. No decision has been made on the ’21 Xfinity Series race.
NASCAR arrived in Indianapolis in 1994, and the Brickyard has always been on the oval track.
“We all were glued to our TVs,” said Joey Logano of the NXS race. “Anytime there is a new racetrack like that for NASCAR, and also driving for Team Penske, (seeing) what they put together was very interesting, and we all wanted to see what it was going to be. Boy, it did not disappoint. What an incredible finish with Chase Briscoe and AJ (Allmendinger), and Austin Cindric all battling it out to the end. You had tire wear, which I thought was very interesting.
“Our cars were slipping and sliding, which, as a driver, is a lot of fun. You want to see tire wear; you want to see the penalty of running too hard, the strategy play that comes into it. Especially on road courses. What are tires worth? And it being challenging getting through the field. I think it’s going to throw a lot of loops into the race and see how it goes. Boy, it turned out to be a crazy race at the end. By the end, I said, that was great. I hope we get to do this. I want to get on that racetrack with our Cup cars and see what it’s like with 40 of us crazy guys out there.”
Boles said he feels this could be a long-term fit for Indianapolis and NASCAR. He is looking forward to feedback after the inaugural event.
“I think it’s a tremendous thing for everybody to race together,” said IndyCar racer Graham Rahal. “I think it’s great for the Speedway, it’s great for NASCAR, it’s great for IndyCar, it’s great for the fans — most importantly, for everybody to be there at one time and be able to enjoy it together. I’m excited about it. I think it’s a great opportunity for both sports to help lift each other; clearly, right now, all tides rise together, and motorsports, in general, can help push each other to the top.
“It’s going to be great to see the Cup cars, as well. It’s definitely a fast road course format, the layout. I think to see them going into Turn 1 and Turn 7, and all those areas, it’s going to be a test for the brakes. It should be great.”