It’s funny how events that you think you’ll never forget come back to haunt you. Take the 2017 IndyCar race for example. If you didn’t watch it, you might not know the track was demolished after only one year. The last race on the track was the first lap, as fans watched in horror as the final brick was put in place. It was a sad day for motorsport, as many great drivers, teams, and tracks went down in flames that day.
Since then, there’s been a lot of thought, soul-searching, and self-reflection in regards to what could’ve been done differently. Fortunately, the track has gone from strength to strength with the new owners, and they’re now preparing to host their first ever NASCAR race later this year.
A Brief History Of The Track
First held in 1924, the speedway was originally called the Washington Sports Car Races before reverting to its current name in 1967. The track was originally 1.25 miles in length, with the current configuration spanning 2.4 miles. In 1949 and 1950, the track was host to the prestigious Cannonball Run, a cross-country auto race that attracted more than 200,000 spectators. The following year, the Indianapolis 500 returned to the track after an 8-year hiatus.
During the 1960s, several changes were made to the course to make it more suitable for modern racing cars. The track was expanded by half a mile, with the straightaway being reduced by 90 degrees. It was around this time that the track began to be used for NASCAR events, with the first running of the track occurring in 1968. Since then, it’s become a bit of a summertime favorite among drivers and fans alike.
NASCAR Is Coming To The Track
In late 2018, it was announced that Hendrick Motorsports would be competing in the NASCAR Cup Series at the track, with the first running of the race scheduled for July 24th. The announcement made headlines around the world, as the track has long been rumored to be one of the stops on the IndyCar tour this year, along with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.
Last year’s race was only the second at the track for Hendrick, with the team having moved up from the Truck Series where they had competed since 2010. While they’ll be hoping to do well, the team will also be looking to make the most of their first exposure to NASCAR.
It’s always nice when famous sports-related tracks join the gridiron, and it looks like we’ll finally have our answer this year. With NASCAR, IndyCar, and the Harlem Globetrotters all set to run at the track this year, it looks like there’ll be some great racing to look forward to.