Brad Keselowski makes his case for adding mid-week short track races to the NASCAR schedule
Any poll data will show you that NASCAR fans are demanding a new crop of race tracks for the schedule. The avid and loud demand for short tracks is certainly here. It’s been here for years but now fans are getting antsy with it as the idea comes closer to reality.
However, the current NASCAR Cup Series feature 39 weeks of race from February to November. That doesn’t leave much room for new tracks. Most tracks on the schedule have their dates locked in via 5-10 year contracts. Those track contracts have locked the schedule into it’s current stale form until 2020.
“All of the longterm contracts are very good for the sport. We have some stability with all of that,” Steve O’Donnell stated on the topic in August. “But, it does kind of lock you into what you can do with the schedule as far as changing it up. Those discussions are certainly happening within our process of what’s next.”
In the same interview, NASCAR executive Steve O’Donnell stated that he understand the short track desire. He also stated talks were already underway to bring new short tracks and road courses to the schedule.
“That dialogue’s going on with the industry right now around 2020 and beyond.”
They’re locked in to 2020. Yet, to combat that problem, there’s an idea floating around out there about mid-week races. Maybe the weekends are full, but the weeks aren’t. If NASCAR wanted to, they could probably host two races per week.
The idea first surfaced from Denny Hamlin. He stated that he was a member of a secret drivers’ council. That’s aside from the other council put into place by NASCAR which Hamlin formerly held a seat at.
Hamlin stated that he saw mid-week races as a real possibility in the near future.
Brad Keselowski want to return to Lucas Oil Raceway
Keselowski has a track in mind for this very thing…
“I really like the idea of this race being… maybe not the cut-off race to the playoffs but towards the fall months. I think there’s a good fit there and it makes good sense to me.”
“I’d really like it if it was Lucas Oil Raceway on a Wednesday then Indy on a Sunday. I wish we could race twice in this region in the week. So, you get a little dose of both.”
Lucas Oil Raceway is formerly known as IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park). The 0.686-mile track rests just 10 miles from downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s a flat short track with wide corners.
Previously, both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ran at the short track when it was known as IRP. The NXS and NCWTS both made their final stop at the track in 2011.
Brad Keselowski was the last Xfinity Series winner at the track that was then known as Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2011. He topped James Buescher to take the win.
Lucas Oil Raceway currently hosts a select few events each season. The 2018 schedule included: ARCA Racing Series, USAC Hall of Fame Classic, CRA Fall Brawl and two other shows.
Meanwhile, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they’re trying some things. The race was moved to the regular season championship race. It didn’t work out so well this weekend as rain pelted every session including both races which were re-scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Beyond the schedule, the aero ducts that were introduced in the NASCAR All-Star Race came from an idea that spawned at IMS in 2017. The NASCAR Xfinity Series made the debut with the package at Indy in 2017. It brought much closer racing and heavy drafting to the event that typically sees few lead changes.
The Xfinity Series ran that package again on Saturday. It’s rumored that package could be seen at 13 tracks in 2018 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“You can’t complain, the track’s trying really hard to do what they can do. We’re very fortunate to be able to have stock cars here, running at this track and thankful for that opportunity.”
Keselowski picked up the win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.
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