After the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series concluded their qualifying session that saw William Byron take pole position for the Bank of America Roval 400 this Sunday, two-time NTT IndyCar Champion, Josef Newgarden, took to the temporary road course to have an exhibition run in his Chevrolet powered Penske machine.
And run with it he did. Gaining more speed and confidence with every lap and it was a shame he had to pull the car into the pits. As much as it was a marvel when the Cup cars first ran the course, watching an IndyCar do it felt comfortable. It felt right.
It felt needed.
After watching the broadcast on NBCSN, a collected observation was had by all, and that was, why not have a doubleheader between the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the NTT IndyCar Series? Even though schedules for next season are set, who isn’t to say that 2021 couldn’t harbor this idea?
There is no doubt that IndyCar’s popularity is rising. While NASCAR’s presence on the American sporting public has wained since their peak, they are still a juggernaut when it comes to eye-balls on-screen within the racing world. We see this cross-promotion within the network of NBCSN as they promote and talk about the races on both the NASCAR and IndyCar broadcasts.
When I look around the racing landscape, especially here in the States, it seems very divided and weirdly, hostile at times. Road racers look down at those that like to run in circles. The sports car guy doesn’t want anything to do with a stock car guy and vise versa. Open-wheel vs. Tin-tops. Dirt or pavement?
For me, give me all of them. For some, it is picking and choosing while you provide yourself with justification as to why one racing is significantly better than another.
That is the wrong kind of thinking, and those kinds of thoughts are damaging to the sport overall.
By having a doubleheader weekend, it would open the spectrum of viewership. It would give a reason for open-wheel fans to experience NASCAR first hand. It would allow fans of stock cars to marvel at the “space ships” zooming by them as Clint Bowyer wonderfully put it on the broadcast.
It could open the possibility of drivers competing in multiple disciplines and maybe becoming well-rounded racers again as we had in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. For the collective whole of motorsports in America, a doubleheader weekend would help bring various fans together. It would raise viewership on TV as well as at the track, and provide events that would be worth going to.
This type of event would be a win-win for both sides. More importantly, it would be a win-win for fans around the nation.
photo credit: RacinToday/HHP photo by Jim Fluharty