SPEEDWAY – Fans have mixed emotions about moving the 2020 Brickyard 400 to July 4th.
For 25 years the annual NASCAR Monster Energy Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was contested in late July or August in the heat of the summer.
This year, the race, which is the last regular season event before the Chase, moved to September to take advantage of cooler Indiana temperatures.
Fans were greeted by temperatures on Sunday in the 70-degree range.
John Kronke, of Kansas City, who made his second trip to IMS this weekend, said he didn’t like the decision to move back to a July race date.
“It’s going to be too hot,” he said. “September is a good date for the race. I wouldn’t come back in July.”
Kronke believes the Brickyard race date will be moved around the calendar over the next few years.
“Being the last race before the Chase, there are a few drivers that need to win,” he said.
Kronke said he would not be opposed to running the Brickyard 400 on the IMS road course in the future, noting road courses are more exciting now.
Brad Compton of Illinois said he comes to IMS every few years for the Brickyard 400. He came every year from 2000 to 2006.
“We decided to come back this year,” he said. “They got the cooler temperatures.”
Compton said it will be hot again at the race next July, but people like to do things in the summer. He wants the race to remain on the 2-mile oval.
“We’ll probably try to come again next year,” he said. “Prefer it not to be hot.”
Logansport resident John Beall was returning to IMS for the first time in 13 years.
“Whatever makes them happy,” he said of moving the race date. “I would come in July.
“I wish they would make up their mind and keep it on one weekend, one or the other,” Beall said. “Being a holiday weekend it probably would draw more fans.”
He also would rather see them race on the oval instead of the road course.
Heather Savage of New Castle, making her first trip for the Brickyard, said it’s not as hot in September.
“I would come to the race in July,” she said. “Probably more people would come in July because of the holiday.”
Don Boles, president of IMS, said Sunday that having the race around the July 4 holiday will make it easier for people to remember.
“No matter where you go on July 4, it’s going to be hot,” he said. “We’re excited about making it a five-day event with the racing on the dirt track and expanded music.”
Boles said he expected attendance to be higher than in 2017. The race was delayed in 2018 because of rain and ran on Monday.
“I believe our walk-up ticket sales will be good,” he said. “We’re in good shape today.”
Boles said running the Brickyard 400 on the road course has been considered, adding NASCAR’s brand is oval racing.
“What makes the Brickyard special is you’re winning on the oval,” he said. “Maybe we could try the Xfinity race on the road course.
“We’re not afraid to change to make the event better,” Boles said.