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NASCAR has no Indy 500…and that’s a good thing

By admin | May 27, 2014

By Richard Allen

On Monday evening I was asked to go on the ‘Mojo with Chris Moore and Brian Jones’ radio show on CBS Sports Radio to discuss various talking points about the recent running of the Indianapolis 500. In particular, the show’s producer had seen a Twitter post of mine in which I had criticized ABC and ESPN for their showing of the drivers’ significant others in a split screen during the pivotal final moments of that thrilling race. The purpose of bringing that radio appearance up is to make a point.

For IndyCar, that one race is everything. A driver and team’s season can be made or broken in those 500 miles. Very few other times for the rest of this year, unless something extraordinary happens, will anyone be asked to come on national radio shows to discuss IndyCar racing. Yet for that one race, a national radio show was willing to bring on someone as obscure as myself to talk Indy 500.

NASCAR has big races like the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500 and the Brickyard 400. Each of those events could and should be labeled as ‘crown jewels’ of the sport. However, none of them overshadows the rest of the series by such a great margin as to render the remainder of the schedule almost meaningless.

There will be far more significant people than me who will be asked to come on national and local radio shows on a daily basis to discuss the happenings within NASCAR whether the Sprint Cup Series has just completed a race in Daytona, Charlotte, Martinsville or Dover. The sport is bigger than any one race.

In IndyCar, that one race is bigger than the sport.

A look at that form of racing’s television coverage reveals where it ranks in the hierarchy of racing. The Indianapolis 500, and a very few other events, is broadcast on a major network while most of the other races on their schedule are difficult to find. Not only the Daytona 500, but every NASCAR race is aired by the major TV sports networks.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Indy 500. And I very much wish IndyCar could grow a larger fan base and become a more vibrant force within the auto racing world. A rising tide lifts all boats and if IndyCar were to become more noteworthy year round, it would benefit all forms of racing.

I believe IndyCar’s recent move to reinstate its old ‘triple crown’ of 500 mile races at Indy, Michigan and Pocono was a good start as far as creating more reasons to discuss the sport goes. And, I like the idea of breaking some event weekends into two separate and distinct parts. However, there is still quite a ways to go before this form of racing can share the stage with NASCAR in terms of national recognition for an entire season rather than just one event.

For right now, the Indianapolis 500 completely dominates IndyCar racing. It could be worse as they could have nothing at all to lean on.

NASCAR, however, does not have one race that totally overshadows the rest of the schedule. NASCAR has no Indy 500… and that’s a good thing.

Topics: Articles |

6 Responses to “NASCAR has no Indy 500…and that’s a good thing”

  1. Tom Wilkinson Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 6:10 am

    The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that most of the american drivers are in NASCAR. That alone explains to me the first problem. The other problem is indy car pit stops. There is nothing to them. If they had NASCAR type pit stops where they use a jack, etc. (you know the routine) it would liven up the crowd during pit stops. You can say all you want too about foreign drivers but we americans want to cheer americans not brazilians, argentenians, or mexicans.

  2. Russ Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Interesting point Rich, but I wonder. I think that an argument can be made that some part, how much I cant say, of Nascar’s decline in popularity is for exactly this reason.
    Every major sport has its marque events. The bat and ball sports have their “rivalry” games. In motorsports, each discipline, be it Indy car, F1, or Endurance racing has its keystone event.
    That event for Nascar was arguably the Daytona 500. However in recent years that seems to have been devalued.
    Of course I may be wrong, and surely Indy car would love to return to its historic place as the number 1 form of motorsport in the US. But in the meantime as long as the INdianapolis 500 lives they still have relevance.

  3. Jesse Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 11:09 am

    It’s great that you are talking about the 500, and everyone knows what that is and will always be the race. Now Nascar is going thru what Indy Car has been thru the last 10 to 15 years, less fans, less cars, less sponsers and drivers bringing money for the ride, you are really seeing this in Nationwide and Trucks. The funny thing is in Indy Car the percentage of cars and drivers that can win a race is so much greater than Nascar, 15 cars out of 43 in Nascar, 17 or 18 out of 26 in Indy Car, the 500 would be 17 or 18 out of 33. And this is with less money and a lot less sponser dollors.

  4. Tony Geinzer Says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I’d prefer another long forgotten half of this American Equation: Midwest American Oval Racers. I wish that Christopher Bell, The Bellranger, Jake “The Cardinal” Strayer and Jacob Wilson where on my short corner for IndyCar and Indy 500 Rookie Candidates vs. A Horrid Underclass. I would like Ford and Mopar try Indy again because I don’t want Honda jilting Chase Austin or Bryan Clauson again because Conor Daly, who’d not run Belleville Kansas or Illinois , but , Monaco and Silverstone instead. I’d like to see Formula Ford vs. K and N, Legends vs. Go Karts, Star Mazda vs. Trucks, Indy Lights vs. Grand National and Cup vs. IndyCar. I hate to railroad on a tangent, Rich, but, people do have the option to choose and I wish Real Races and Games and Sporting Events merited a Real Highlight Reel again and I would have the Coke 600 be Saturday Night so that Indy would take Memorial Day Sunday by the handle and spout. Or, even if it was IROC, Cup vs. Everybody from Jimmy Owens to Ron Capps. I’d prefer seeing merit scholars for my sport vs. John Wes Townley.

  5. Arnold Decker Says:
    June 1st, 2014 at 7:34 am

    But NASCAR has Kyle Bush

  6. Merlin Muffler Says:
    June 2nd, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Tom Wilknson says:

    You can say all you want too about foreign drivers but we americans want to cheer americans not brazilians, argentenians, or mexicans.

    Tom get out a geography book and check out where Brazil (South America), Argentina (South America), Mexico (Central America)…. We from the United States share North America with Canada. So you may realize we are all Americans living in different parts of the America’s…..So you can cheer for those americans also……

    .