Watching the Brickyard 400 reminds me of just how good the Indy 500 is.
A few years ago open wheel fans feared that the Brickyard could outrank the Indy 500 in spectacle and attendance. Watching the race today it shows me NASCAR could never replace the Indy 500.
While the crowd at this year’s 500 wasn’t capacity it seems to be at least twice as large, maybe three times bigger, than NASCAR show. Not only that, the race was better in May.
Much of the racing was single file, with cars running around in a second or two bubble. It was more like a Formula One race then a NASCAR race. Credit to the announcers for trying to generate some interest around the different fuel mileage “Strategies,” but it never seemed like the alternate strategies were a legitimate shot at winning, just guys playing the cards they were dealt, and the cards they had were an unsuited two-six. To me it seemed like a two car race, stayed a two car race and had very little drama. To me it seems like they gave a little bit too much attention to a rookie who started 33 and finished 30th, but whatever, there wasn’t much to talk about.
NASCAR cars are basically big fat aerodynamic bricks built to turn left, and I guess they do a good job at that, but the overall effect was, “Meh,” for me. All engines seem to get the same gas mileage and there weren’t enough cautions for any alternative strategies to take root. There didn’t seem to be much degredation in the tires, or at least not enough to make short pitting an effective strategy. All the teams had the same tires there wasn’t any tire strategy. Basically it was a contest of speed, and that quickly became a two car show.
I looked at it long enough to see that there’s no way NASCAR can replace open wheel at Indy 500, they don’t put on a good show, and the crowd knows it.
For comparison’s sake
Brickyard 400 187.531
Indy 500 228.786
Brickyard 400 47.776
Indy 500 39.6580
Brickyard 400 20
Indy 500 68
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