Agreeing With Dale Jr.; The speedway was made for Indycars

Once again, NASCAR went to the hollowed grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I find myself agreeing with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. According to Twitter feeds during the race, Earnhardt said over his team radio that the speedway was made for Indycars. Of course, Earnhardt was talking about pit road, but his observation rings true. The great Indianapolis Motor Speedway is not a stock car track.

[media-credit name=”Brian Douglas” align=”alignright” width=”235″][/media-credit]For most of the day, fans must have fought sleep. While the great Indianapolis 500 is a spectacle not to be missed, the Brickyard 400 is a snoozer. It came down to a fuel mileage race. Wow, we get that at Michigan and Pocono. How nice. And we had a surprise winner again. Of course, the class of the field didn’t win, and the so-called aero push led to runaway leaders, so there wasn’t much excitement. It was nice to see Paul Menard finally win a race, but many fans felt like Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth had the best cars, or did they?

Just like at Darlington (and many other venues this year), fuel mileage was king. If your car was able to stretch fuel and not pit as the laps ran down, you could win. Put Mr. Menard in that category. And to make things worse, we get to go to Pocono next. Why? It is woefully obvious to me that stock cars need to run at tracks with banking. It’s just the way things should be. Sure, Martinsville isn’t banked so much (exactly the same 12 degrees as Indy), but its small size welcomes close racing. Not so at Indy .

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The attendance tells the story. NASCAR and IMS seemed to be happy that attendance only dipped 2,000 from last year. The place holds 257.000 people and it was only about 54% full (NASCAR’s estimate of 138.000 was probably generous). You could see the empty seats all around the speedway. So the question is why does NASCAR continue to run this race.

It was a great thrill, and probably still is, for the NASCAR drivers to run at Indy. Many had dreamed of running there and have to be a rush to do so once a year in a stock car. Unfortunately, the show isn’t so great. Much like the two road races run every year, the races just don’t fit in what stock car racing is. In the effort to make NASCAR racing a national sport, we go to tracks that just aren’t suited for stock cars. While places like Darlington, Rockingham, and North Wilkesboro were suited for this brand of racing, they were pushed aside to go into California, Chicago, New Hampshire, and other places that don’t fit the norm. It’s like playing football in Wrigley Field. Something’s wrong with it all.

And yet we continue and will continue for the foreseeable future. As attendance continues to decline in places where stock car racing is only partially appreciated, the end game will eventually come. It’s just a matter of time. But what Dale, Jr. said today is known by most everyone competing. Stock car racing needs banking and a wide pit lane. And someday, everyone will get the message. Maybe.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Indy sucks, plain and simple. That place is always the site for one of the worst races of the year and it kept the streak alive in 2011. I was glad to see Menard win, but this track should be removed from the schedule.

  2. Good article and very true. NASCAR has to dump Indy, California, the road courses and one Pocono and Michigan race. Go back to Rockinham, Noth Wilkesboro. Bring it back to it’s roots, and along with that the attendance will return…

  3. Is it just me or does Dale Jr. have an excuse every week? It is the tires, pit road, etc. Everyone else has the same items to deal with. Just face it, he is a loser and should be driving a truck, not the Camping World Truck Series, a garbage truck. Come on Mr. Hendrick, you have changed everything but the driver, don’t you think you have missed an element?

  4. Brandon, Jr. can’t finish, no matter how many cars he passes. But he needs people to make excuses, just like he does. Seems like a lot of people agree with me. He ain’t got it.

    He will not make the chase. Check it out in a few weeks.

    Sorry Nancy, try soccer.

    • hey jim your wrong 5 weeks ago u wouldve never said this each week he had a top ten car but after 4 wrecks in five weeks your going to say he sucks how about bitch at someone else who hasnt ran worth a s*** and he will make the chase

  5. The racing sucks there..i dont give a crap if its historical..oooo….who cares, darlington was historical and they knocked a race away from them. The tire debacle of 08 was better than this….at least there was no fuel mileage junk in that lololol.

  6. The place was not even built to be a race track it was built to be a test track for Indiana’s car industry. The cars that were to be tested there were the stock cars of that time period. I know most stock cars of that time were open wheeled but who cares.

  7. Thank you for agreeing with Dale Jr. nevermind people and experts have been saying this for years, I guess you only listen when it comes out of the mouth of the prodigal son.

    • Actually he specificially said, “This damn pit lane was even made for Indy Cars.” He was trying to get off pit road and for some reason Jamie Mac was just lolly gagging down to his stall. They showed the replay Dog.

  8. It’s funny how every word out of Jr’s mouth is turned into an attack…Al he was commenting on was the size of pit road….However the RACE came down to fuel milage …..DDUULLL

  9. You tell me how 100 years ago they knew what was to be today, open wheel or stock cars. Take what you got, Jr. You are having such a crappy year, I doubt if you could outrun most cars if they were on 7 cylinders. This was a good race. If you don’t like 43 cars coming down the stretch maybe you should watch board track racing.

    • Jim are you a Menard’s employee? This is the most ridiculous comment I have ever read (almost). First and foremost, Junior passed more people during the green flag laps than anyone else on Sunday (look it up) and ran up front. His car was good. Even the front runners talked about how it was impossible to pass (which speaks to the layout of the track – made for open wheel). The last long drawn out caution caused the field to run into the fuel window and some tried to stretch and others didn’t. You obviously didn’t watch the race closely enough to say it was good. Ntm, for once the media has it right and very few actually believe they should be at Indy. I think it’s SPEED that replays races during the week. You should check it out.

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