Why does the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 need put against each other? My take

Well…I guess I better take responsibility for this debate that was being sparked this week between the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 and to which one is bigger. After all, it was my tweet on Sunday night when I got back to our condo following the 64th annual Daytona 500 that began the war between the Indy 500 and the Daytona Beach News Journal.

Granted, I didn’t start this war nor am I looking to finish it. The author of this story in the local Daytona paper did and I indirectly threw accelerant on this fire by the tweet that had since blew up.

The thing is, this shouldn’t even be a topic to begin with. Why are we comparing the two races? Yes, I get on one hand you get NASCAR’s biggest race and on the other is INDYCAR’s biggest one. But, to compare the two and then say the one in Daytona is bigger than the one in Indianapolis?

First off, that’s factually not true. Take last year for an example. The Daytona 500 had 4.8 million viewers. The Indianapolis 500 drew 5.6 million viewers.

Indy was bigger.

Attendance?

Not even close. While ratings are comparable last year, you really can’t compare attendance since both were run during a pandemic and capacity limits were different.

Indianapolis steadily puts over 300k in their house on Memorial Day weekend. Daytona, even with a complete sell out like this past year’s, was no more than 150k.

Again, Indy is bigger.

So, why say Daytona is bigger than Indy when it’s not true. In fact, my question is, why do we need to pit the two against each other? Why can’t we like both?

I cover both series, NASCAR and INDYCAR. I absolutely love both races. I cover both and plan to for as long as I can. I’ve witnessed each race multiple times, in person. I can’t get enough of either.

So, why do we need to create wars when a war shouldn’t even be started? Can’t we all just get along. Why can’t we be fans of both races? Why can’t we work together to create one big motorsports community?

It’s not just on the NASCAR side. I see INDYCAR fans call the stock cars “taxi cabs” and throw shade their way too. My response is, why?

My photo on the grid from Sunday’s Daytona 500

Racing is racing no matter if it’s a stock car, an open wheel car, a midget, a sprint car or hell even a lawn mower. The premise of racing is to go faster than your competitors and reach the checkered flag first.

It’s the ultimate team sport that’s a high level of danger and competition. So why do we have to say one series is more elite than the other? The NTT INDYCAR Series is the highest for of North American open wheel motorsports. The NASCAR Cup Series is the highest form of stock car racing in North America. To compete at this level in each, you have to have talent.

Yes, some make fun of what they may consider backmarkers, and yes they may have reached this level due to someone else’s money, but it’s not like they’re terrible drivers. How many of you could honestly hop into a race car, know how to strap yourself in, put your gloves on, lower the visor and take off out of pit road? How many of you could go at the speeds these two series are honestly going?

You think you can do 180 mph consistently in a stock car around Daytona and not crash? What about 230 mph at Indy and not wall it going into Turn 1?

It’s not just hold the throttle down and go. There’s g-forces in both. The loading your body takes is extreme. The car doesn’t have the grip levels that your passenger car has on the streets. You’re either tight or you’re loose but neutral isn’t really a thing in racing since neutral is slow.

Next time you have snow and ice on the streets, go ahead and try to go 230 mph and see what happens? Actually, don’t. I care about each of you reading this that I don’t want any of you to reach the result that would come by doing that action.

With motorsport being more of a niche sport these days, isn’t it best if we work together and support each other to help it all grow? Instead of sticking your nose up at INDYCAR or INDYCAR fans doing the same to NASCAR, maybe give them a shot. The more you do, the more the numbers grow. The more the numbers grow, the better each sport fares. The more each sport fares, the better they become for all of us.

See how this works?

If you do the opposite by dividing them, a wall goes up and neither can grow. It works against you. I never understood why fans of one bash fans of the other. This article, well it sparked a bump in the road again but luckily most of the comments were in unison of agreement. The concern for me though is the unison was still downplaying Daytona which is a place that should be loved too.

The Daytona 500 is a huge event. It’s not the Indy 500 in ratings or attendance but it feels like it in person. It’s a spectacle like Indy. It brings out the stars. So maybe in the future lets stop comparing the two.

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