A lot is on the line this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We have an NTT INDYCAR Series/NASCAR Xfinity Series doubleheader on the road course on Saturday. A day later, you have the Brickyard 400 on the famed 2.5 mile oval.
3 racing series, 2 days, 1 track. It’s historic. It’s the perfect place for this to happen too. An iconic track with a rare opportunity on Fourth of July weekend.
The problem is, fans aren’t allowed. All three races will take place behind closed doors. That’s the big storyline as every driver we’ve talked to said that it will be an “awkward” experience this weekend because of that.
It’s already strange to have raced so far behind closed doors, but doing so at Indy is sacrilegious. Indy is a crown jewel for anything you do here. If a lawn mower racing series showed up, it would be met with praise and expectations. It would be the best lawn mower race you’d ever seen.
Indy is more than a race. It’s the only track in this world that can say that.
That’s why no matter if fans are there or not, to win in any of the three races this weekend will be met with an immense celebration.
That Segway’s us into so many race related storylines.
For Indy Car, will anyone beat Simon Pagenaud or Will Power on Saturday? They’ve combined to win all six GMR Grand Prix’s. If so, would Scott Dixon win his first road course race at Indy? He’s finished runner-up in each of the last two years and won the season opener last month at Texas. How will the Aeroscreen do in the heat? We know it’s going to change the setups, which with only a little over an hour of practice available Friday, it will leave a lot of teams guessing.
For the NXS race, the magnitude of a NASCAR on the road course is THE story of the race. If the race is a hit and wildly entertaining, does the Brickyard eventually move to the road course next?
Does that make Sunday’s Brickyard 400 the last on the oval? Can Jimmie Johnson win his record tying fifth in his last start? Can anyone beat Kevin Harvick, last years winner, or Denny Hamlin? They’ve combined to win six of the 11 races post COVID break.
Can Kyle Busch get his third Indy win but his first of the season?
If all of this isn’t enough to make your head spin, try this being the first race weekend at IMS since Roger Penske bought it.