NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray has changed my opinion about NASCAR racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the running of the John Wayne Walding 400 at The Brickyard. Until yesterday I was talking myself out of enjoying the race. I know that it’s one of the most storied tracks in racing and NASCAR is about to put on what it considers one of its biggest shows of the year. Well, according to drivers that
The lingering question that I had was if it was just becoming too boring of a race? Should I DVR it and mow grass. I’m not alone in this thought process. I know many fans that think that the novelty of racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has worn off. In truth, tire issues, strung out racing, and bad sight lines for those at the track have caused some issues with races becoming a bit dull.
Suddenly this morning I changed my mind and am planning on watching every lap of the NASCAR race at the Brickyard. Here’s a few reasons why thanks to Jamie McMurray, former Brickyard winner, and a radio interview he did on NASCAR radio.
McMurray Likes Indianapolis!
I’ve always been a Jamie McMurray fan. He’s just a cool guy. He may have turned my opinion around about racing stock cars at the famed track. On SiriusXM NASCAR’s The Morning Drive show NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray said he’s looking forward to returning to Indy for a race. He noted that since the cars only hit the track once a year, and that it’s Indy, that teams put together the best rides for that race. Often that means all new equipment.
“Teams look at Indianapolis on the car building schedule and that’s one of the places you build a new car,’ McMurray explained on the Morning Drive show. “You don’t build something new for Kentucky but you wait and build something new for Indy and then you can use that car the rest of the year.”
I’m all over seeing brand new cars, the best in the garage, hit the track for a race. That means builders have done some tweaking after learning things over the course of the year and it’s being applied to the new ride.
And I admit I've never really thought about the Brickyard 400 as being the place where the best of the best brand new cars make an appearance. That's a lot like the Daytona 500! McMurray said after winning the Brickyard 400 in 2010 that both Indy and Daytona are race car driver favorites.
"Everyone wants to win at Daytona and Indy," McMurray said. "There's a different feeling you get here than at almost any other racetrack. A lot of energy. It's a very special place."
Bricks and Milk
OK; I admit it. I’m a sucker for tradition. Kissing the bricks, drinking the milk, and taking in everything that goes into racing at Indianapolis is pretty awesome. But is it enough to watch a race? Somehow I forgot the huge role that the tradition and the spectacle of racing at Indy was for drivers and teams. I was still worried about bad sightlines for fans at the track and tire issues from years ago.
I just realized, I’m not going to be at the track this year! I’ll have the best sight lines ever right in my own living room. Tire issues are hopefully far behind us at Indy. As for tradition, I could tell by listening to McMurray speak about racing at the Brickyard that it was one special place for a driver to race during a career and every chance they have to drive on that track.
“We only come (to Indianapolis) once a year, most tracks we see twice a year. You can plan some for the second race depending on what you did during the first race. Every time we come to Indy it’s new.”
So, my take on that is this. Race car drivers and NASCAR spend their entire lives trying to put on a good show for the fans. Is it that bad that we let the little kid come out in them? If they've dreamed about racing at Indy for years then who am I to say we need to take the race off the schedule?
Entertainment at Indy
That brings up my closing point about fan turnout at Indy and people complaining about buildings and seating blocking some of the track from fan view while on site. If you can’t find something really, really cool to look at or do during a race day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Brickyard weekend then there may be something seriously wrong with your race fan genes.
The place has become one of the most fan friendly places in racing with added value far beyond what some venues do for your ticket dollars. The Brickyard is back on my list of tracks to buy tickets for.