When NASCAR returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they’ll be turning left and right
For the first time, NASCAR is set to use the road course portion of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The layout will be in use for the NASCAR Xfinity Series event on July 4, 2020.
This comes as Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the tracks that are criticized for ‘boring racing.’ NASCAR has attempted several packages and scheduling changes to make something out of the famed 2.5-mile oval.
In 2019, it was the cut-off race for the regular season. The last chance for drivers to advance into the playoffs.
But, it hasn’t worked.
For 2020, NASCAR is running a new test. The NASCAR Xfinity Series will make a run on the clockwise 2+mile road course.
Matt DiBenedetto is a NASCAR Cup Series drivers for Wood Brothers Racing. On Wednesday, Austin Cindric passed his Team Penske Xfinity sear to DiBenedetto.
For the first time, NASCAR ran a test on the Indianapolis road course with the Team Penske machine. After the session, DiBenedetto had a lot to say about the track.
The test was hosted in order to determine which of the many Indy road course layouts to use. There’s options there. Also, NASCAR needed data on fuel mileage to set the distance for the event.
Matt DiBenedetto on the Indianapolis Road Course
“So the cool thing is what we love as road racers is heavy braking zones,” Matt DiBenedetto stated during a press conference after the test.
“Clearly, the end of the front straightaway here, you have a very heavy braking zone. You also have another long back straightaway getting into Turn 7, which is a heavy braking zone.”
“And then on the 14-turn course, you have another braking zone coming into (Turns) 12, 13, and 14. When you come up onto the short chute, get on the brakes, get on there.”
“There’s high-speed stuff. There’s low-speed stuff. So it’s pretty much everything we could ask for from a competitor’s standpoint for raceability.”
“Also, the little chicane back there coming on the back straightaway is really technical. I’m still figuring out my approach to that. There’s a lot of different elements to the racetrack that makes it exciting.”
“There’s a lot of areas not only to try and outbrake and pass, but actually set up in the prior corner, to set up for those passing zones and things like that.”
“Some low-speed stuff where people might just use their bumper and knock them out of the way, whatever. So there’s opportunities for all of that.”
14 turn road course? 12 turn road course?
“The 14-turn course, you’re coming up on that short chute, and it’s right on edge, and you get to brake right next to the wall there (in the short chute between oval Turns 1 and 2), which is pretty cool, and it’s just really unique. I can’t compare that to anything actually. So that’s a cool technical passing zone opportunity,” DiBenedetto added.
“Then on the 12-turn course, it spiked the old heart rate pretty good coming through backwards through oval Turn 1 … That was very weird.”
Matt DiBenedetto will not be allowed to participate in the event due to his data collection in the single car test. That’s why Austin Cindric was not in the car.