Small crowds at Indy Speedway a worry

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:52 AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS — It was hard to hide the estimated 100,000 empty seats at the 225,000-seat Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400.

The attendance is the lowest at the Speedway since NASCAR first came to Indy back in 1994.

In its first dozen years the race actually outdrew the more famous Indianapolis 500, but in recent years it has suffered from boring racing and a wounded U.S. economy.

There is speculation that NASCAR boss Brian France could even move the July Indy date to Kentucky Speedway, near Cincinnati.

“It’s no secret Kentucky is talking about having a Sprint Cup event and it’s not that far away and it has implications to Michigan (Speedway) and here from a geographic standpoint,’’ France said at an impromptu press conference at IMS before Sunday’s race.

Formula flavour

There was more than a little flavour of Formula One on Sunday at the Sprint Cup Brickyard 400.

Not only were there two former F-1 race winners — Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya in the race — but Ron Dennis the executive chairman of McLaren Automotive was meeting with France.

The two racing moguls were talking about NASCAR’s jumping into the 21st century by approving fuel injection engines for next season.

“I’m really here because we are looking to support NASCAR as they change to electronic control systems fuel injection,” Dennis said.”I have quite a big company that looks after (injectors in) Formula One and IndyCar, so for us this is just a desire to come to America and develop our American arm.

“It’s fascinating — the enthusiasm, different cultures and the way people interact with each other. It is very different from Formula One. So far, so good, I’m having a good day.”

Quote unquote

Eighteen-year-old Ryan Truex, development driver at Michael Waltrip Racing, is concerned young guys aren’t getting a break in NASCAR.

“You need young drivers to keep coming through,” Truex said told the New York Times, “or you’re going to run out of ’em eventually and have a bunch of old dudes running around.”


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