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MARGOLIS: Observations, Indianapolis

Thoughts, observations and a few questions following the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

  • I’ve always tried to be one of those people who finds something good about any situation. That’s been difficult to do after watching this year’s edition of what some still call one of NASCAR’s “majors.” In my opinion, when a sporting event is described as being a “major” it usually means it is one that brings out the best in an athlete. Nothing about yesterday’s “race” could be thought of as bringing out the best in anyone.
  • Maybe the location of the race warrants us to still call this race a “major.” The Indianapolis Motor Speedway still is the most well-known race track in the world. The only thing that qualifies as major about this event is the level of disappointment it produces.
  • The way in which the 43 drivers tolerated the massive heat and uncompetitive racing produced by their race cars — exaggerated by the aero package mandated for this event — should be applauded.
  • Did I already say that this year’s Brickyard 400 was boring?
  • @KevinHarvick hit the nail on the head by calling the Brickyard 400 aero package a “science experiment that probably didn’t change that much.”
  • Four wins in five outings for @KyleBusch and yet there’s still a question about whether or not the Joe Gibbs Racing driver will (or should) make the Chase. How about we now require he also stand on his head and spit nickels in order to qualify for post-season play? I expect he’ll be able to do that, too.
  • The best race this past week was the Mud Summer Classic at @TonyStewart’s Eldora Speedway. If someone could bottle that evening’s racing essence and spray it on a few of the upcoming Cup races, we just might have something.
  • No matter how you see it, Kyle Busch’s sweep of both races at IMS is a remarkable feat.
  • I know I’m biased, but did you notice that @DanielHemric (No. 14 California Clean Chevrolet) finished fifth at Eldora — in his very first race (in anything) on dirt? And that he did it by going from ninth to fifth in the final two, green-white-checkers laps? If that doesn’t impress you…
  • Did you see where Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas told a reporter from NBC Sports online that he was hoping to spark interest in Formula One in America in the same manner that the US Women’s national soccer team did for soccer here? (I’ll wait here while you laugh a bit.) I believe the only thing Haas will accomplish with this F1 folly is another story of how a uber rich person became a lot less wealthy by dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into F1. The wrong people are running this deal for all the wrong reasons and it will likely be an embarrassment in the end. When @DanicaPatrick’s name was brought into the discussion about who could be one of the team’s drivers, it confirmed my suspicions that his is nothing more than a vanity exercise that has accomplished little more than weaken SHR’s viability in NASCAR.
  • I can remember a time when Carl Edwards would start at the front and then go on to win the race. His was the only JGR team to not finish in the top-10.
  • I can also remember a time when Brad @Keselowski was a threat to win every weekend.
  • If there truly is a god of racing, then he’ll grant some clemency on @JeffGordonWeb, Alan Gustafson and the entire 24 car team. I believe in karma, but Gordon’s misfortunes this season have become unbelievable. No one deserves this much bad. But, I still see the NASCAR living legend making the Chase this year and being a contender once he does.
  • The crowd at the Brickyard 400, estimated by long time Indy Star motorsports scribe Curt Cavin as being in the neighborhood of 75,000, was pathetic, especially since the Speedway is set up for a crowd of 250,000. It made for shorter lines at the concession stands and toilet facilities, less traffic congestion and ugly overhead shots during the television broadcast. The reason for such a sparse crowd? There are several. Maybe there was a PGA event being held somewhere within a 100 miles of the track.
  • Did I mention yet that this year’s Brickyard 400 was boring?
  • Track attendance really doesn’t (and shouldn’t) matter anymore now that track owners get a nice chunk of cash for their race, courtesy of the new television package. But it should be mandatory for each track to adopt the multi-color seating configuration seen at most Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks (Charlotte and Kentucky are good examples of this). It’s the ideal aesthetic fix for empty seats. Placing a large tarp with a sponsor’s name brings in some hard cash for the track, but it looks absolutely tacky, tacky, tacky.
  • I like veteran ESPN writer Ryan McGee’s ideas for spicing up the Brickyard 400, especially NHRA drag racing down the back straight. However, I have a much easier and far more entertaining alternative — run both the Xfinity and Cup races on the Speedway’s road course. Period! NASCAR’s most entertaining races are its road course events, don’t you agree?

EMAIL BOB AT bob.margolis@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @BobMargolis

By Popular Speed

POPULAR SPEED is a Social Media driven website featuring exclusive content, photographs, news and pointed editorials. It’s makeup consists of veteran motorsports journalists as well as the unique voice of developing young talent. POPULAR SPEED was launched in 2013 under the direction of former Sprint Cup Series spotter, Mike Calinoff.

2 replies on “MARGOLIS: Observations, Indianapolis”

The race was the mess most of us thought it would be. When the Emperor wants to recreate pack racing like IndyCar has on low-banked ovals, you know the rest of the NASCAR brass just has to pretend like it might be possible. Stock cars and high downforce do not mix. And NASCAR has proven that to everyone except one doofus. Heaven help us.

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