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Richard Childress Expects Improved Racing at Indianapolis

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Stock car racing hasn’t really captivated at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but the prestige and pageantry typically made up for it, with the Brickyard 400 traditionally completing the Triple Crown of prized NASCAR races alongside the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.

But the prestige has started to dissipate in recent seasons following the 2008 Goodyear tire debacle, a struggling economy and the general disinterest in racing. These factors combined have all cut into the once plentiful attendance numbers at Indianapolis.

Richard Childress admitted during a Monday teleconference that a lot of that has to do with the on-track racing product. While the Brickyard 400 is still a memorable event, he does think the new Sprint Cup chassis will alleviate some of the concerns for Sunday’s track action.

“IndyCar had some of the same concerns prior to their new car,” Childress said. “I think the new Indy car works well within the draft and hopefully our new Gen-6 will do the same thing and let us draft a little better with it.”

The new DW12 Indy car has set lead change records in both Indy 500 events since it was first implemented in 2012, setting 68 passes for the top spot this past May. Childress believes there is some synergy between the action in both open-wheel and stock cars at the Speedway.

“I think it’s such an aero-dependent race track that you can be 3/10ths faster than another car and can’t be able to do anything with it,” Childress said. “With our new Gen-6, I think we can do a lot more drafting on these long straightaways.”

Childress added that crowds are down across the board in the stick-and-ball sports too and that the economy has more to do with it than the racing. He also believes that NASCAR is a lot more digitally accessible now than it ever has been before, giving fans many more options beyond attending the races in person.

Nevertheless, Childress is hopeful for an exciting Brickyard 400 and is hoping to win his fourth race at Indianapolis after capturing trophies with the late Dale Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard.

“It’s going to be a fun weekend up there at Indy,” Childress added. “I always look forward to going up there, visiting some of my favorite restaurants and going to the Brickyard — it’s going to be fun.”

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Matt Weaver

Matt Weaver is the Executive Editor of POPULAR SPEED. He has covered NASCAR since 2011 and full-time since 2013. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He has been published all across the country and routinely makes radio appearances on Sirius XM Satellite radio and NBC Sports Radio Network.

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