By Lee Montgomery
NASCAR announced today that the Nationwide Series would move to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 2012 as part of, IMS officials are calling, a "Super Weekend."
The Nationwide race is moving from Lucas Oil Raceway, where it has been held ever since the series started in 1982. But next year, it won't be on the short track.
NASCAR and IMS have their reasons, of course. But will fans even go to the Brickyard to watch a Nationwide race?
I took an informal sample of fans via Twitter and Facebook, and their opinions come across loud and clear. Moving the race is a bad idea.From Twitter:
@MarcTimes: Stupid. Further proof NASCAR doesn't relate to its core fan.
@NSCRtruckFAN: It's OK. They already have a Firestone Indy lights race there.
@NDguyKMc: It blows.
@TheFera13: It's just shocking how off base some of the decisions can be for "giving fans what they want." I feel confident saying if I offered you $1 million for every person that told you they loved it, I wouldn't owe a penny.
@turbojunker: I may have to go through with my empty promises to stop watching if they keep this up. Absolutely horrible move. I am so tired of them moving the Nationwide Series and the truck seires away from short tracks where they belong.
@mstefan56: Don't like it. Not happy, and I sent a message to NASCAR and told them so!
@MattTaliaferro: LORP was one of my top three favorites on the Nationwide Series sked. Hurts worse than losing Gateway, Memphis, Milwaukee, even though the Nationwide Series is going to IMS.
@Jenny88311: I hate it! I go every year, and now I'm reading they are changing everything. I'm sure the prices goes up, too. Also, the history that was there kinda seems gone now. Only the "big" boys raced there. Now it's like everyone can race there.
@ronfrankl: Hate the move. IMS has shown it is not conducive to good stock car racing, unlike IRP. Strictly a money grab, and the fans be damned.
@SJoy29: I think it's fine (better than no race at all), but it makes me sad they won't be racing at ORP anymore in either series. I looked forward to those races each year very much.
@JonDoble: Hate it. Typically, the bigger the track, the more boring the show for the Nationwide cars. Need more short tracks, not less.
@CopaCavanna: Indy winners include Foyt, Earnhardt and Schumacher. Imagine adding a Nationwide Series regular to that list. Doesn't seem right.
@vegangymmie: HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE mistake. It's going to be one of the worst decisions ever.
@damorgan86: Not a fan, going from a short track that puts on a good show to IMS that produces follow-the-leader races all the time.
@jennifer6973: I think it dilutes the importance of Indy.
@rowdygirl1851: BAD idea. Racing is MILES better at ORP than it will be at IMS. I, for one, go to ORP but won't waste my time on IMS.
@minapier: Sounds like the Iowa Cubs playing at Wrigley, doesn't it?
@MattsTheatre: I think it is one of the worst decisions ever made and does more to damage the series then help it.
@KellyCrandall: Not a fan.
@Shaggy_5150: Not a fan of it, but it is what it is. Will probably go to the inaugural Nationwide Series race, but not any after that.
@DavidLStarr: Terrible, stupid, awful, etc. If it weren't for Montreal and Iowa, all the unique tracks would be gone. Sad.
And these from Facebook:
Justin Weinrich: Terrible. Worst decision NASCAR has made since leaving North Wilkesboro 15 years ago. Two follow up comments: First, there is no evidence that adding a support race will generate additional ticket sales for the Brickyard 400. There is no precedent for this type of move working before, so this seems like a last-ditch effort to save what is becoming a laughingstock of a race weekend. Fans understand that if you want to see a good race in the Midwest, you'll spend your hard-earned money up the road at Michigan. Second, NASCAR seems intent on draining the Nationwide series of any identity it has left. IRP is exactly the type of track they should build that series around, and instead it's being taken off the schedule. At times, the NASCAR leadership appears to understand what's best for the sport (uniform start times, simplifying the points system, greater emphasis on driver safety). At others (taking the Labor Day race away from Darlington, repaving the plate tracks) -- they look horrendously out of touch.
Katelyn Kinnett: Lee, please inform Mike Helton and Brian France that I think they have no brain ... nor soul. People prefer short track racing ... that race can sell out. Indy? You sit in a corner and you can see two straightaways ... you sit on the front stretch (where I usually sit) and you see a portion of the front-stretch. It's stupid. Awesome and historic that Cup races there ... but Nationwide??? Keep them at the short track down the road.
Cam Moore-Hogan Curry: I hate it. When I spend my money to go to a race I want to be able to see the whole race. If I spend that kind of money I will go somewhere else. I loved the race at LOR.
Bill Gordon: Folks, it is ALL about the money. In a feeble attempt to find new fans all across the spectrum, they seem to be shooting themselves in the foot at every turn. I think NASCAR needs to scale back on what they spend, and what teams are spending, because the fans that made them in the 80s and 90s, can't see that much money when they are struggling to live every day.
Seems pretty clear, doesn't it?