The naysayers said it would never happen. IndyCars would never return to the Pocono Speedway. Groups sprang up on the Internet lamenting that seemingly certain fate, much as they have for other tracks actually closed down such as Nazareth.
It seemed plausible for the longest time that there might never be a return even though the track had been constructed way back when specifically for IndyCars. After all, cart did what they were widely known for; i.e., alienating every other entity in motorsports primarily based on their collective arrogance. And so it was for twenty years or so. Cart self-immolated. Twice. The management of the track continued to hold a grudge. IMS-led IndyCar seemed content to simply demand a couple of million from tracks for the privilege of running IndyCars. Pocono fell into a state of minimal repair. After all, with two Cup dates a year why make much meaningful improvement?
Then a curious thing happened. The owners of the track revitalized it. New pavement, SAFER barriers, improved fencing all the way around as well as improvements to infield retention systems. All of a sudden it became a viable IndyCar track again. Randy Bernard and crew managed to eliminate residual baggage from the cart era, craft a new deal and bring the IndyCars back after 24 years. Hell froze over.
Many fans could not be happier. As one of them it is my sincere hope a decent sized crowd appears to make it something other than another pointless one-off, and I’m taking at least four people with me as I put my money where my typing fingers are. The track itself is working very hard to promote it. IndyCar seems mostly content, as usual, to sit back and just see what happens. Miles and the new crew have crafted a fine long term plan for the series, but externally it appears the important aspect of venue promotion has been excluded. They even bent over for ESPN on ABC again after that ‘partner’ indicated they could only have a window big enough for a 400-mile race.
None of that matters headed into the holiday weekend. It’s the ‘tricky triangle’ with distinct corners modeled after Indy, Trenton and Milwaukee. This weekend cannot arrive fast enough for those of us lucky enough to attend. See you there!