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IMS’ Boles “pleasantly surprised” with NASCAR return to oval

In an interview with Motorsport.com, IMS president Doug Boles said ticket sales for the Cup Series’ first race on the 2.5-mile oval since 2020 have been up year-over-year since the announcement of its return last September.

After lagging attendance, NASCAR and IMS moved the annual Cup race on to the IMS Road Course in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

With the introduction of the Next Gen car in the Cup Series, NASCAR decided to return to oval layout this year, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the inaugural event in 1994, won by Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon.

“So, if you compare year over year, like this date, this many days from the race, we are up and we’ve been up really every day since we announced we were going back to the oval,” Boles said of ticket sales for the 400-mile Cup race on July 21.

“Pleasantly surprised with how that’s going. So, I think that that bodes well. We’ve gotten a ton of positive feedback from fans who are excited that it’s on the oval. We’ve got a lot of people who had tickets previously who hadn’t come since 2019, which was the last time fans could have seen the Cup cars on the oval (COVID-19 affected the 2020 race).

“So, all indications are really positive, and we should be in a lot better spot in terms of attendance. I just think there’s excitement and prestige obviously with the oval that that brings that back.”

While the Cup series’ races on the IMS road course have certainly not lacked in excitement, the push to revive the Brickyard 400 gained momentum with improved racing the Next Gen car has provided on intermediate and larger speedways.

The Xfinity Series will also return to the oval track with a 250-mile race on July 20. The Cup race will follow the next day. Driver-turned-Fox TV analyst Kevin Harvick is the most recent winner on the oval, winning the 2020 edition.

Boles said the track will do heavy promotion of NASCAR’s return to the iconic oval during its month of May activities leading up to the Indianapolis 500.

“People are excited about the prestige of it and getting a chance to see the Cup cars back on the oval,” he said. “We’ll leverage the 500 customer when they’re here for the Indy 500 to make sure that they know that the Cup guys are coming back and that they’re going to be on the oval.

“Then the summer will be completely about focusing on the fact that they’re back on the oval. And that’s really the big buying period for us is that June, July; those last six weeks leading into the Brickyard are really the times that you’ll really see a pretty heavy promotion around the Brickyard 400.”

One popular advantage of NASCAR utilizing the road course layout will disappear with the move to the oval – holding a combination weekend with the NTT IndyCar Series.

That isn’t likely to return anytime soon at IMS, Boles said.

“As a race fan who loved the idea that the NASCAR Cup cars and the NTT IndyCar Series cars are on the same race track the same weekend, that was a pretty big deal for a race fan, I think, to be able to see those two series running together,” he said.

“From the speedway standpoint, I also understand that if you’re an NTT IndyCar Series driver, more diversity of tracks is what makes that series so special. So, having two road course races at the speedway, while it worked out and was nice, I think at some level it would be nice to add a different venue.

“As a fan, I hope what we did is we showed that it works, it’s great for the sport and that there’s another venue where we can continue to host IndyCar and NASCAR at the same time on the same weekend.”

This article was originally published by a www.motorsport.com . Read the Original article here. .

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