This weekend marks the IndyCar Series annual return to the site of some of the most thrilling IndyCar events ever held. Texas Motor Speedway and the gregarious guy who runs the joint, Eddie Gossage, is often positioned as the second home for IndyCar. They have been around since the earliest years of the IRL.
Through the years it has survived a number of otherwise venue killing misadventures. In the old days when the field was filled with drivers who actually enjoyed racing fast and close there 80,000 to 100,000 would show up every time. Even the then outside-looking-in cart folks felt the need to horn in and wave their genitals around in 2001 until they stepped on them and screwed thousands of racing fans again.
After those teams and drivers were bailed out and became part of the present series the real whining began. 1.5 mile ovals. ‘Pack’ racing. Suddenly bad for the participants. A few times their spouting yaps have almost succeeded in getting themselves thrown out, and still could.
Hopefully the quality of the racing will return to the excitement level once a hallmark of that venue. Also hopefully people who are not lucky enough to attend will be able to find it on television. The ‘partner’ who began their IndyCar relationship with such promise and enthusiasm seems content to shuffle the series to unrelated cable channels like CNBC then back to the sports network without really letting providers know what is on the schedule. They have also become enamored of NASCAR and F-1, as evidenced by the amount of promotion and programming.
Speaking of ovals drivers don’t like, the Nashville Speedway was sold to new owners recently and they seem serious about having racing. IndyCar seems like a natural fit, but that was another track IndyCar left not because crowds or sponsors were a problem, but because the series did not want to be there. Personally IndyCar should be looking there and at Memphis as well, where there is another fine short oval largely being unused.
On a somewhat related note some of us fans of IndyCar oval racing have created a new Facebook group cheekily called 25/8 that celebrates the first five years of the IRL. Anyone who enjoyed that period is welcome to join.
Enjoy the racing this weekend! Texas should be fun. As always.