Is Butler Motor Speedway Open? [Expert Review!]

With the new year already started, it’s time to take a look at the state of stock car racing in America. With the cancellation of the season-opener and a number of other events being postponed or canceled, it’s unclear just how many races there will be this year. In fact, the outlook is rather bleak as we’re already starting 2020 without a full slate of events to look forward to.

Butler Motor Speedway

While much of the country remains closed to motorsports activities due to COVID-19, there is still one place that celebrates the start of every New Year – Butler Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. This 1.8-mile oval remains the only street-legal motorsport stadium in the country, attracting thousands of race fans every season.

Located in the heart of Indianapolis, this classic oval features four lanes that snake around a downtown traffic circle. It is here where legends are born and where recent greats like Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth still make their names. Even if you’ve never been there, you’ve likely heard of it – probably even watched it on television.

Thanks to Indy Racing League Commissioner Randy Bernard, this year’s season will indeed begin at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On New Year’s Day, the IRL’s Championship Sprint Cup Series will make their return to the 1.8-mile oval for the first time since 2003. With Bernie having been a major figure in the sport for decades and now retired, this was likely the first time the series had returned to Indianapolis since the finale of the 2019 season.

The stars of the IRL Championship will face off in an action-packed season opener on a sunflower field just outside of town. Along with the Sprint Cup, the IRL has also announced an Indy Lights support series for the maiden race. While IndyCar and NASCAR have traditionally been the dominant forces in America’s street racing scene, with all-female racing teams now prowling the country and international series regularly held on US soil, the IRL has kept up with the times by expanding their horizons to include more motorsport competitions.

Other Events

While the return of the Sprint Cup to Indianapolis is undoubtedly the biggest news story regarding the 2020 season, the IRL actually has a lot more to offer. In addition to the championship, the league also stages the USAC Silver Crown Series, the Knoxville Nationals, the NHRA Fueling Point Nationals and a variety of regional events like the Illinois State Fairgrounds 500, the Carolina Classic and the World’s Greatest Switzer Sweepstakes. With so much variety, it would be a shame not to take the opportunity to try something new even if it’s just for a day or two.

The Future?

With so many options for fans who want to follow the action, it’s clear that the IRL has maintained a strong foothold in the US racing scene even during these trying times. With popular opinion shifting from isolation to engagement and many people now seeing a role they can play in helping to fight the pandemic, it’s also clear that the IRL has positioned themselves for the long term.

Certainly, it’s a bleak time for motorsport, but with so much uncertainty, it’s the perfect opportunity for enthusiasts to try something new. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at stock car racing, now might be the right time. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to participate in a race even if it’s virtual – or perhaps even a few races this season. With the nation slowly beginning to rebuild, it’s time for the IRL to take the field.

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