Rumors have been circulating for the last month in the Nationwide Series garage that the series will move to Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting in 2012. The much speculated rumor will become official on Wednesday afternoon.
Moving to the Brickyard means one track would lose its Nationwide event. That track is Lucas Oil Raceway, formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park and O’Reilly Raceway Park. Next year would have marked the 30th anniversary that the series would have been racing at the 0.686-mile track. But, it appears that NASCAR and the track couldn’t agree on a sanctioning fee to keep the Nationwide event there.
The Nationwide race would be held the same weekend as the Brickyard 400. The weekend racing would start Friday afternoon with a Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race. That race wouldn’t conflict with the Camping World Truck Series race at LOR on Friday evening. The racing would continue Saturday afternoon with the Nationwide even, and the Brickyard 400 would remain on Sunday afternoon.
Officials at LOR said they have not yet been told that the Nationwide race will move to Indy next year, but they said that if that happened, it would be a big blow.
There has been no word on whether or not the track will keep their Truck series event. Without the Nationwide event, they may not want to prepare for a single event.
I believe this a negative for a series that has been struggling with its identity. Currently, there are only eight non-companion races from the Sprint Cup schedule including Nashville Speedway ( two races), Iowa Speedway (two races), Chicagoland Speedway, Road America, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and LOR.
Moving a race to Indy would open the door for more Cup regulars to run the Nationwide race at the Brickyard to prepare for the Brickyard 400, since it’s one of the most prestigious races on the schedule.
A press conference is scheduled for 1:30pm ET at the start-finish line at IMS to announce the move.
Update: Lucas Oil Raceway has confirmed that the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series will not compete at the track on their traditional dates in 2012.
Wes Collier, general manager of LOR, said:
We are disappointed that the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series will not return to Lucas Oil Raceway on their customary race weekend. The Kroger 200 and the AAA Insurance 200 have long been one of the ‘can’t miss’ events for race fans in the Midwest.
Update 2: The Nationwide Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Series will join the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for four exciting races during the inaugural Super Weekend at the Brickyard. It will be the first time in IMS history that races will take place on the 2.5-mile oval and 2.534-mile Grand Prix road course during the same weekend, and the Nationwide and Grand-Am will make their IMS debuts.