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IMS Writers’ Roundtable, Volume 12: What Other Racing Series Do You Like?

Today’s question: We all enjoy the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NASCAR Cup Series, the two motorsports series that race annually at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But what series that doesn’t race at IMS in 2021 is your favorite?

Curt Cavin: In my early days as a motorsports journalist, I couldn’t take my eyes off USAC Midgets, either on dirt or pavement. Over the years I developed a deep appreciation for NHRA’s Top Fuel and Funny Car classes, but our schedules didn’t align well enough for me to consume the coverage until the U.S. Nationals arrived in Indianapolis each Labor Day weekend. Today, my extra time goes to Formula One, where the sound and celebrity of the sport is captivating. Yes, Lewis Hamilton seems to win every race, but last weekend’s season-opening race in Bahrain illustrated why it is easy to get locked into an F1 broadcast.

Zach Horrall: If it has an engine and some wheels, chances are I’m going to watch it. That said, I’ve always had a fascination with NHRA. It’s unlike any form of motorsport out there, and all four professional classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle) offer something different. The speeds are incredible, the finishes are almost always close, and the under-four-second runs fit my Gen Z-washed attention span. Back in my IndyStar days, I had the opportunity to stand on the starting line during testing at Lucas Oil Raceway and while I can’t describe what it was like, I had never felt anything like that, nor will I ever feel anything like that again. Second on my non-IMS list (although I hope to see them back here one day) is IMSA. Between all the different classes and the unique road courses the series hits, there’s so much action happening in a sports car race. As a fan, it’s so fun when you can look throughout the entire field and find an on-track battle to watch.

Paul Kelly: This might be the easiest question of the year for me to answer. MotoGP entertains, amazes and fascinates me to no end. I’ve watched every race since 2005, thanks to the rise of a future American World Champion named Nicky Hayden. Every motorsports competitor is brave and talented, whether in a street stock enduro at the local dirt track all the way up to the paddock of Formula One. But MotoGP riders may be the last true gladiators of global motorsport. No seat belt, no roll cage, no HANS Device – all at 225 mph, which was the all-time series speed trap record that Johann Zarco set last weekend in Qatar. The safety features of auto racing are fantastic, but there’s something so cool about seeing MotoGP riders at work, hanging off the bike in corners and dragging their knees, elbows and, in Marc Marquez’s case, sometimes shoulders on the asphalt. I love racing strategy, but there’s a purity to MotoGP that doesn’t exist in many other series. No pit stops, no radios, no spotters – just all-out, full-throttle racing from start lights to checkered. I still miss MotoGP at IMS to this day. Hey, Roger Penske and Doug Boles, what can we do about bringing them back?

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