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THE FULL MONTY: Moving Nationwide Series race to the Brickyard remains a bad idea

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Trevor Bayne (left) and Steve Wallace lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kroger 200  on July 24, 2010.
Trevor Bayne (left) and Steve Wallace lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kroger 200 on July 24, 2010.

By Lee Montgomery

A bad idea one year isn't necessarily a bad idea a year later.

But in the case of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway talking about taking the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Lucas Oil Raceway, a bad idea in 2010 is still a bad idea in 2011.

In case you missed it, the Indianapolis Star reported that IMS is talking to NASCAR about that very idea.

And since I wrote a column in 2010 criticizing the idea, why should I write another? So for your viewing pleasure, here's last year's version, though I've made the editorial decision to update the name of the track:

By Lee Montgomery


NEWTON, Iowa - Within a few minutes of posting a story about the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule, fans spoke up about a possible move of Lucas Oil Raceway's race across town to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Indianapolis Star reported Friday that IMS officials are considering the move in an attempt to bolster attendance for the Brickyard. As anyone with eyes saw last weekend, the Brickyard 400 was an embarrassing sea of empty seats, even though it was still one of the largest crowds of the year.

Now, I don't know how serious this talk is, but I hope the deal isn't done yet. If the Nationwide Series goes to IMS, it would be one of the worst decisions all parties involved could make.

For starters, let's talk about the allure of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which owns the trademark "Greatest Racecourse in the World." When you talk about racing, you think about Indy. Drivers around the world grow up wanting to race there, and even though the Indy 500 has lost some of its luster in recent years, there is no other place like Indianapolis.

So why would IMS want to host the No. 2 series there? Nothing at all against the Nationwide Series, but the series doesn't belong at Indy. Let the Brickyard have Sprint Cup.

Second, the series absolutely belongs at Lucas Oil Raceway. It belongs at short tracks like LOR. The Nationwide Series doesn't need to be at more superspeedways, it needs to be at more short tracks. The race at LOR is always one of the best of the season, and the place is always packed. Where else can you say that about a Nationwide race?

Several years ago, NASCAR decided to start racing more Cup/Nationwide combo events at the same track on the same weekend. Later, it curtailed testing. Both of those combined to see Cup teams invade the Nationwide Series in drastic numbers. The result is what you're seeing now: Cup drivers winning most of the races and dominated the championship battle. And a lot of fans snore.

One way to fix that would be to go to more standalone events like LOR. What would you rather see, a Nationwide Series race at, say, Dover on a Saturday, or a race at Lucas Oil Raceway? I think I know the answer.

Heck, LOR deserves a second race at the 0.686-mile track, if you ask me.

Third, the Nationwide race at LOR has become part of the series' tradition. It was on the schedule the first year of the series, in 1982, and has held events ever since. For the longest time, the track was the farthest west of any in the series. And the race has always been the Saturday night before the Brickyard 400 since NASCAR went to IMS.

So why mess with tradition? Why change one of the most popular races in the series? Why take a chance that a Nationwide race at IMS would be a major-league flop?

It ain't broke. Don't "fix" it.