NASCAR Drivers Sound Off on Changes to Brickyard 400 Course: ‘Lost a Crown Jewel’

by Quentin Blount

NASCAR fans are just excited that racing is back following a two-week break for NBC to focus on Olympic coverage. But as for the drivers themselves, some of them are upset following a change to the Brickyard 400 course.

The NASCAR Cup Series will continue this Sunday. Drivers are set to compete in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motorspeedway. However, this won’t be the typical Brickyard many drivers have come to know and love. This year’s race will take place on a road course and not the iconic oval track that is considered so prestigious.

Denny Hamlin is one of the drivers who strongly dislike the change. He says they are taking away a “crown jewel.”

“We lost a crown jewel,” Hamlin said. “People hated the racing, but I don’t know, are they really going to get more people out to the road course than what they did for the Brickyard 400? I’m not sure. I don’t love it — I don’t love the move. It took away a crown jewel.”

Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick Dislike New NASCAR Cup Series Race at Indianapolis

As for Kyle Busch, he ultimately agreed, echoing the same sentiment as Denny Hamlin. He doesn’t believe that this race will be viewed as a true Indianapolis race.

“I don’t view this track as Indianapolis, no,” Busch said. “Indianapolis is the oval. That’s where the allure of Indianapolis comes from and being around since 1900. It’s been there forever and there’s a lot of history there.”

Busch hammered his point home by diving into some of the history at the oval. And after spouting off historic NASCAR names like Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, it’s hard not to agree with him.

“That’s all IndyCar, obviously, but we started our own history there in 1994 with Jeff Gordon winning five times and Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, and Bobby Lobente winning,” he continued. “It’s like a who’s who of drivers that have won the Brickyard 400, and I don’t see that same allure racing on the road course.”

Similarly, Kevin Harvick threw his name into the ring with Hamlin and Busch. For him personally, there is a certain nostalgia that comes when driving through the tunnel at the oval. There is history at the Speedway that many drivers work their entire lives to add their names to.

“I’m not a huge fan,” Harvick agreed. “For me, driving through that tunnel and understanding the history and everything that comes with racing on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is something that I always look forward to. I’ve been around this deal for a long time, so understanding the history of the Speedway and what it means to be racing. So, having to race on the road course is going to be a tough pill to swallow.