Saturday, July 30, 2011

Appreciation for the Brickyard

After my agony at the Kentucky Speedway a few weeks ago, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

They say attendance is down at the Brickyard. They say the racing isn’t up to par.

I’ve been to every Brickyard 400. If people are losing interest, you couldn’t tell it by me. My section is always packed with familiar faces, meaning people must be renewing their tickets year after year.

I’ll grant you IMS isn’t ideal for NASCAR. Since the track is 2.5 miles long, you see only a small piece of it. For that reason, I’d much prefer to watch a race at a smaller facility where you can see more -- or all -- of the track, like Kentucky.

However, in other ways, IMS has it in spades over Kentucky … at least based on Kentucky’s inaugural race. IMS has hosted big events for like a century, and it shows. The traffic flow is well planned, publicized, marked and managed.

Kentucky banned coolers at its race, saying it had no time to check them. IMS methodically checks coolers without causing delays.

Tradition is a mismatch. IMS is the track of the Andrettis and A.J. Foyt. You feel like you’re part of something bigger by being there. Furthermore, the crowd is a fascinating mix of sinners and saints. There might have been a nice atmosphere outside the Kentucky Speedway, but I wouldn’t know it, since I spent all my time in the car.

The Brickyard is the one day of the year I actually like listening to Bob & Tom
on the radio as they preview the race while I drive to the track. On the way to Kentucky, I listened to the veins popping in my head.

And even the weather cooperates at Indianapolis. Although it’s always hot, the race has never been cancelled by rain.

So while I’d rather watch a Kentucky race, I’d much rather go to Indy.

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