On Monday, the ARCA Menards Series unveiled their 2021 schedule. The normal stops were on there, but if you dig a little bit deeper, you’d see that there’s enough on this schedule to make the open wheel fans salivate at the mouth with jealousy.
See, the NTT IndyCar Series has just three ovals on their schedule next year. The three stops will take place at Texas, Indianapolis and the World Wide Technology Raceway. Texas is a doubleheader so that’s four races in total on ovals for 2021.
But, when you see the ARCA schedule, open wheel fans may notice stops for them in Phoenix (March 12), Kansas (May 1 and Oct 23/24), Mid-Ohio (June 4), Pocono (June 25), Iowa (July 24), Watkins Glen (Aug. 6), Michigan (Aug. 20) and Milwaukee (Aug. 29) as part of it.
Those are all either current (Mid-Ohio) or past INDYCAR tracks. The past tracks, INDYCAR fans have been wanting to see come back for a while now. With only three ovals, Phoenix, Pocono, Iowa, Michigan, Kansas and Milwaukee have been mentioned as well as Chicago and Kentucky as destinations that INDYCAR fans want to come back again soon.
They’d also love for another trip to Watkins Glen as well.
ARCA will race at all of them. The problem is, while INDYCAR would certainly love to entertain the possibility of making returns to any of those tracks, the million dollar question is, would you show up to them?
Yes, INDYCAR fans are salivating at the mouth at the look of the ARCA schedule for 2021 and have big dreams on those tracks joining the existing INDYCAR schedule for future years. I don’t think Roger Penske, Mark Miles and Jay Frye and company would turn down any of those tracks if they knew they could turn a profit.
The key is, attendance and participation by the fans.
The reason INDYCAR isn’t going to any of those ARCA tracks in 2021 is for the lack of fans in the past. Yes, Pocono’s attendance started to gain some steam, but the track was also pretty dangerous. If that track would sell more tickets and give INDYCAR more attention, I think they’d welcome it back. But, why put yourself in dangers way with the recent crashes that we’ve seen there for a few thousand fans and struggle to make any money?
Iowa isn’t on Penske’s radar for purchase and they likely can’t afford a sanctioning fee to INDYCAR without proper attendance. They’re paying for ARCA but not paying for INDYCAR. That speaks volumes.
Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Chicagoland would be great venues for INDYCAR to help boost the oval turnout on the schedule, but the reason they flamed out is because of lack of attendance. Same for Watkins Glen. The only reason they stopped going there is for the poor turnout too.
If INDYCAR is going to take on going to these tracks again, you have to show up. You can’t just be happy for the return but ignore buying tickets and hope someone else does. You need to buy tickets. You need to travel. You need to make it appointment viewing in person. The excuses have to stop on why you’re not going. You have to go.
I know that sounds harsh during a pandemic on telling you where you need to spend your money, but if you want new or even old ovals to come back to the INDYCAR schedule for the future and not only come but remain on the schedule past a couple of years, you absolutely have to go to these races in order to make them come back and stay here.
How the fans treated Phoenix and Watkins Glen when they came back was a farce. You all wanted them back and when they came back, you didn’t show. That’s why INDYCAR as well as these tracks are treading lightly on a reunion of sorts between each other.
Yes, the entertainment at these venues for race weekend’s could be better. Yes, there’s a few other factors that could help make you want to go even more, but the moral of the story here is, if the fans want INDYCAR to look at more ovals and even a return to some of these classic tracks – you would have to buy tickets in bunches.
Can they trust you will?