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July 31, 2013

de la Bastide: IMS not the problem when it comes to NASCAR

New aerodynamics needed to improve racing.

It has become an annual ritual for NASCAR beat writers to complain about how boring the Sprint Cup race is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

They complain about the fact that attendance has dwindled, about how there is little passing during the Brickyard 400, and about how the cars run in single file.

The truth of the matter is that attendance is down at all NASCAR races. It’s common to see empty grandstands and large sections of bleacher seats closed to the public so it appears there are lots of fans in the stands.

Even the night race at Bristol, which used to be one of the toughest tickets in racing to come by, is no longer selling out.

Estimates of the crowd at IMS this past Sunday was somewhere between 80,000 and 90,000 people. Granted, when one considers IMS seats well over 250,000 people, when the track is half full it looks empty.

Places like Atlanta, Chicago, Pocono, Darlington, Dover and New Hampshire would consider 90,000 fans in the stands a success.

But for some reason IMS is put into a category all its own, the rules are different. Even before the first lap was turned on Sunday, there were some in the media center putting down the race.

Was the race boring? No more than most NASCAR races this year. Fans have been complaining about the lack of passing and close racing, except following restarts for several years and this has not changed in 2013.

The problem has been the current rules package has placed a premium on track position. The car leading the field will pull away and other competitors will have a tough time making a pass.

There needs to be a change in the aerodynamic package of the cars to eliminate the advantage of so-called “clean air.”

For the most part the Brickyard 400 was like every other race run by NASCAR, except at Daytona and Talladega.

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