IndyCar Series drivers weigh-in on second Indianapolis race debate
[Editor's Note: AR1.com will address this issue in further detail in an upcoming article. See previous AR1.com article that briefly addressed the topic.] IndyCar is discussing the possibility of running a second race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- either on the oval or the F1 road course. Several drivers shared their opinions to SB Nation over the past few days and most agreed it was a bad idea. he great debate in IndyCar right now centers around the suggested idea that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway should host a second IndyCar Series race at the historic 2.5-mile Speedway -- either at night, on the oval, or on the Formula 1 road course.
Fan response has been generally negative, seemingly in universal agreement that a second race at the Speedway will be to the detriment to the month of May and the Indianapolis 500.
Those in favor hope another date at the Speedway will provide a cheap option to expand the IndyCar schedule, draw in news fans and generate revenue for IMS - the benefactor of the IndyCar Series.
As is often the case in IndyCar, drivers are the first to be drawn in and this debate is no exception.
Alex Tagliani of Bryan Herta Autosport took a diplomatic approach when SB Nation asked him the question on Monday, saying that drivers shouldn't be allowed to have an opinion on the topic. He quickly caught and corrected himself, instead saying that it's best that drivers don't influence the decision-making because fans are the only reason he has anywhere to race.
"What do those who support us think," Tagliani said. "I would like to see a survey issued out to fans and get their opinion. If you do that and 80 percent say they are interested and would support it, then you might be onto something.
"But if you're going against the 80 percent and the tradition of the Indianapolis 500 -- it's a bad idea and that's how mistakes have been made in the past."
Josef Newgarden grew up idolizing that fanfare and agrees that IndyCar shouldn't make a hasty decision until the league has consulted the fans. He added that he felt some of these more-progressive ideas stemmed from the Randy Bernard administration and that fans shouldn't be so quick to assume that the current staff, led by Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, is actually considering the addition.
"Mark hasn't been in charge for that long yet," Newgarden said. "But I know that they are working on a lot of different ideas. I agree with what Tags said and I would love to hear what the fans think. It would be nice to see an open channel between the fans and IndyCar."
The Daytona 500 is NASCAR's biggest race and some fans would argue that the Coke Zero 400 July night race is not a distraction from the "Great American Race." The twilight nature and shorter distance provides enough uniqueness to make the event stand out on its own and is still one of NASCAR's most anticipated and watched shows.
Team Penske's AJ Allmendinger has raced in NASCAR the past six seasons but doesn't see a comparison between the two. He agrees with the seeming majority that that a second race at IMS could be a detriment to the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
"In my opinion, there's no reason to go to Indianapolis twice," Allmendinger said. "I think what it looks like is you need to go to places that don't have a race. Whether it's an oval or a street race or a road course -- get that city excited about that race... Me, I wouldn't want to go to Indy twice, whether it's a road course or another oval race."
It's one thing to universally shoot down the proposal and another to not offer a reasonable alternative. Each of the drivers SB Nation spoke to during the week seemed to agree that running a second race at the Speedway was not in the sport's best interest but one of them, Newgarden, even offered a counter-suggestion
The Tennessee-native personally doesn't want to race twice at the Speedway but instead offered the suggestion of running a nighttime street course race in downtown Indianapolis - the league's own version of the F1 Singapore night race.
"I know they would like to capitalize on our hometown fans," Newgarden said. "But I don't know if we need it at IMS. I'd like to see a street race in downtown Indianapolis. It's something I think we could pull off quite well. The Series has the connections within the city and we have the resources to make that something really special."
Other suggestions have been made concerning nearby Lucas Oil Raceway Park's Road Course and the short oval - although the latter has been discounted as the track is just too small and one-grooved. SBNation