Rushville Republican

July 30, 2013

Making the Brickyard 400 more exciting

Ken de la Bastide
Rushville Republican

RUSHVILLE — It has become an annual ritual for those NASCAR beat writers to complain

about how boring the Sprint Cup race is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

They complain about the fact that attendance has dwindled, there is little

passing during the Brickyard 400 and the cars run in single file.

The truth of the matter is that attendance is down at all NASCAR races.

Empty grandstands and large sections of bleacher seats closed to the public

so it appears there are lots of fans in the stands.

Even the night race at Bristol, which used to be one of the toughest tickets

in racing to come by, is no longer selling out.

Estimates of the crowd at IMS this past Sunday was somewhere between

80,000 and 90,000 people. Granted when one considers IMS seats well over

200,000 people, when the track is half full it looks empty.

Places like Atlanta, Chicago, Pocono, Darlington, Dover and New Hampshire

would consider 90,000 fans in the stands a success.

But for some reason IMS is put into a category all its own, the rules are

different. Even before the first lap was turned on Sunday, there were some

in the media center dishing the race.

Was the race boring, no more than most NASCAR races this year? Fans have

been complaining about the lack of passing and close racing, except

following restarts for several years and this has not changed in 2013.

The problem has been the current rule package has placed a premium on track

position. The car leading the field will pull away and other competitors

will have a tough time making a pass.

There needs to be a change in the aerodynamic package of the cars to

eliminate the advantage of so-called "clean air".

For the most part the Brickyard 400 was like every other race run by NASCAR,

except at Daytona and Talladega.

The IMS race was more interesting than most because the two dominate cars on

the day, Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson, battled for the lead throughout the

race. Had Johnson not had a 17-second pit stop with less than 26 remaining,

it would have been a much closer finish.

I kept waiting for NASCAR to throw a late caution flag at IMS to bunch up

the field for another restart. It seems like many of their races have a late

caution to add some excitement to the finish.

One has to wonder if Johnson was leading and Newman chasing, would there

have been a late race caution flag to bunch up the field?

Do the national scribes want to talk about boring racing, have they watched

a Nationwide Series race lately. Kyle Busch has won eight of the

15 races and normally wins in overwhelming fashion.

If the truth be known, NASCAR took away a good Nationwide Series race in

Indianapolis when it moved the event from Lucas Oil Raceway to IMS. The LOR

races were always filled with bumping and banging and an exciting finish.

The best two races of the weekend were the Champion Racing Association Super

Series and JEGS All-Stars Tour events at LOR on Friday.

With discussions taking place in Indianapolis about moving the sports car

races from the Brickyard weekend to either May or September, will that mean

a Camping World Truck Series event will be added at IMS?

The Truck Series needs to return to Eldora Speedway for a race on the dirt

and away from IMS.

Running the Brickyard 400 at night, maybe as soon as 2014, would renew fan

interest in the race. Temperatures would be cooler and the competition

should improve with the cars getting more tire grip in the corners.

Whether people like it or not, a win at IMS is second only to winning the

Daytona 500.