News & Multimedia

Brickyard Super Weekend: A Local Perspective

The Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard was the kind of event that makes me feel proud to be a resident of Speedway, Indiana.

Don’t get me wrong – I am on record as not being a fan of NASCAR racing, and like many, I remain disappointed that the Nationwide Series dropped its longtime race at O’Reilly Raceway Park in nearby Clermont in favor of a 250-miler at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s too bad NASCAR couldn’t find a way to keep ORP on the schedule in addition to adding a race at the Brickyard.

But for the Town of Speedway – which claims many direct links to IMS and track founders Carl Fisher, Frank Wheeler, James Allison and Arthur Newby – the Super Weekend was a big hit.

The Hauler Parade on Thursday evening is a case in point. It’s family friendly, great for kids, and just an excellent way to announce that NASCAR has arrived in town. My son really enjoys seeing the shiny trucks parked on Main Street, and we especially enjoyed the activity between 13th and 14th where a bluegrass band played outside Linder Fuel Injection. At the end of the evening, I had a hard time getting my boy out of the bounce house that IMS thoughtfully set up in the municipal parking lot across the street from Dawson’s.

Last year, I took my son to the Rolex 24 endurance race at Daytona International Speedway, and he claimed to become a fan of the Daytona Prototypes (Frankly, I think he just enjoyed the spectacle of night racing…). So he talked for months about watching the Grand-Am cars at Indianapolis. And one of the great things about living in Speedway is that when the 6-year old inevitably got bored, we were able to walk home and watch the end of the race on television.

Some people seemed happy to see Danica Patrick return to IMS on Saturday, though it must be said that an even greater number of schadenfreudists were delighted when she crashed out of the Nationwide race. Hard to believe that Brad Keselowski’s victory was the first stock car win for Roger Penske at Indianapolis, to go along with Penske Racing’s 15 Indianapolis 500 triumphs. And as an Indy car loyalist, it was great to see Sam Hornish post a solid second place finish; almost five years after turning his back on the IndyCar Series, he finally seems to be getting the hang of stock car racing and I hope he makes the most of his opportunity subbing for the suspended AJ Allmendinger in Penske’s #22 Sprint Cup car.

As for the Brickyard 400 itself, what can you say? By Brickyard standards, it was a reasonably entertaining 42-car race. Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and Hendrick Motorsports for elevating themselves above the rest of the field.

Johnson takes a lot of flak from NASCAR fans for being boring and bland, but you’ve got to be blown away by the guy’s consistently excellent performances on the race track. I was also impressed by Johnson’s post-race demeanor Sunday, when the importance of becoming a four-time winner at Indianapolis elicited an emotional response from the 35-year old Californian.

You see, two of Johnson’s role models or heroes are already four-time Indy winners – Rick Mears in the Indianapolis 500 and Jeff Gordon in the Brickyard 400.

(It should be mentioned at this point that Michael Schumacher won the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix on the IMS road course five times, an oft-forgotten fact when discussing the small group of 4-time Indy winners – Mears, AJ Foyt and Al Unser in the 500, and Johnson and Gordon in the 400.)

Johnson was visibly choked up in his post-race television interview with Vince Welch.

“It’s neat just to race here,” Johnson said. “To come here and win is such a huge honor, and then to have four…four wins! I’m lost for words. It was a total team effort and we put it on ‘em today.”

Addressing comparisons to Mears, Johnson said: “Man, it’s wild. And Gordon as well – I looked up to him. It was really wild for me getting my start driving a Cup car for him. To tie both those guys and what they accomplished…again, I hoped to come here just to race. I had no idea it would turn out like this."

“I can remember back to watching the 500 with my grandfather and my dad, sitting on a couch watching the 500 take place. My grandfather told me stories about Indy; that he came here and was at the racetrack. I’m glad to have my own memories here for my family.”

I know that memories are a big part of why so many people hold the Indianapolis Motor Speedway near and dear. And I’m hopeful that many years from now, my young son will look back on our times attending races at the Speedway – whether for Indy cars, stock cars, F1 cars or motorcycles – with the same kind of fondness that I recall.

I’ve been going to the track since 1976, and IMS is the biggest reason my life took the path it did. It’s why I moved to Speedway, Indiana, a five-minute walk from Turn 1.

It’s a great place to raise a family. Especially if you’re a racing fan.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Brickyard Super Weekend: A Local Perspective
 
Brickyard Super Weekend: A Local Perspective
The Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard was the kind of event that makes me feel proud to be a resident of Speedway, Indiana.
Read More
Related Media
Lilly Diabetes 250
 
Lilly Diabetes 250 to Showcase NASCAR XFINITY Series' New Format
The Lilly Diabetes 250 will feature two heats and a main this season as the NASCAR XFINITY Series debuts a new format in four races. Four “Dash 4 Cash” races will have the new format and the race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the last of the four on the schedule.
Read More
Melanie Astles
 
Female Pilot to Make History as She Joins the Challenger Cup for the 2016 Red Bull Air Race Season
French aerobatic champion Mélanie Astles is writing history as she becomes the first female pilot to join the Red Bull Air Race’s Challenger Cup. Two other new exciting pilots will also join her, Britain’s Ben Murphy and American pilot Kevin Coleman.
Read More
Red Bull Air Race
 
IMS Set to Make More High-Altitude History
The world’s most elite master class pilots will soar to new heights above the skies of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this October in the newest addition to the Red Bull Air Race World Championship schedule. This historic announcement brings IMS’ legacy as a center for aviation innovation full circle and unites two iconic sporting traditions and global brands.
Read More
Indianapolis 500
 
Tickets On Sale Now for Historic 2016 Season at IMS
Tickets are on sale today for a sure-to-be legendary and historic season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fans who have not already pre-ordered tickets can visit the IMS ticket office or IMS.com to purchase their seats for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and an action-packed slate of Verizon IndyCar Series, NASCAR and vintage racing at IMS.
Read More
Kyle Busch
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Kyle Busch Wins NASCAR Sprint Cup Title at Homestead
Finishing off one of the most remarkable comebacks in NASCAR history—indeed, in the annals of sport—Kyle Busch won Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and, with it, his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 668
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
RT @GrahamRahal: I really enjoyed myself at #SB50, but let me tell you, being there once again confirmed there is NOTHING like the #Indy500!
about 15 hours ago