For the first time in motorsports history, the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NTT IndyCar Series will race at the same track on the same weekend.
The Xfinity Series and the IndyCar Series are set to navigate Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course on Saturday, while the Cup Series has the original oval on Sunday. All of the action will be broadcast on NBC.
Hype surrounding the Fourth of July tripleheader has prompted interest in making this crossover an annual event, specifically hosted in Speedway, Indiana.
“I’m going to just completely kiss butt here and say whatever Roger Penske wants to do, let him do it,” said Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford in the Cup Series. “It’s his track.”
That’s right. Penske officially bought IMS, along with the IndyCar Series and IMS Productions, back in November of 2019.
Penske, of course, also owns Team Penske, which fields both NASCAR and IndyCar entries among other racing entities. The organization has four NASCAR drivers – Keselowski, Joey Logano (No. 22) and Ryan Blaney (No. 12) in Cup; Austin Cindric (No. 22) in Xfinity – and three IndyCar wheelmen – Will Power (No. 12 Chevrolet), Simon Pagenaud (No. 22) and Josef Newgarden (No. 1). All of them have competed at Indianapolis.
“I’ve heard a lot about what he’s been able to do to the facility,” Cindric said. “It’s somewhere I’ve gone pretty much every year of my life – now that I think about it – so I’m excited to see all that as far as from a race fan’s perspective and then obviously a lot of incentive to try to get that first win on the road course for him.”
Saturday does mark the Xfinity Series’ debut on Indianapolis’ 14-turn, 2.439-mile road-course layout. Meanwhile, this will be the Cup Series’ 27th trip around the 2.5-mile oval.
Overall, Team Penske boasts 25 wins at Indianapolis, tying it with Michigan International Speedway for its winningest track. Keselowski alone is responsible for the two NASCAR triumphs with his 2012 Xfinity Series victory and his 2018 Cup Series crown jewel there.
Power claims four IndyCar trophies from Indianapolis. Pagenaud also has four but three with Team Penske.
“I can’t wait to see the place, and it’s just going to continue over the next few years – all the updates,” Power said. “You just know Roger strives for perfection, so there will be nothing in that place that looks out of place when Roger is done.”
Indianapolis, also known as the Brickyard, was built in 1909. It’s the third oldest paved track among NASCAR circuits.
Because of their respective manufacture alliances – Team Penske runs Fords in NASCAR and Chevrolets in IndyCar –drivers cannot double dip in the two leagues this weekend. Penske, though, is the only owner to have drivers in all three events. That means its going to be a busy weekend for the “Captain.”
“No better race track and no better person to put it on,” Cindric said, “than the guy that has an entry in every single series.”