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1 more for the road; Brickyard 400 calls audible for 2018

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — There is a new decision for sports fans in Indianapolis on the table for next fall.

The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is on the move to the second weekend in September, which happens to align with the opening weekend of the NFL season.

“We don’t think the downside of having to compete head-to-head with the Colts is not nearly as far down as the upside of all the other things with the change going into September,” IMS President Doug Boles said.

The Brickyard heads to the back of the pack in 2018, becoming the final race before NASCAR’s postseason schedule. On paper, this marks a major improvement for fans in Indianapolis after watching the race get lost in the summer heat for the better part of a decade.

“It’s dang hot here in July and August,” two-time defending Brickyard 400 champion Kyle Busch said. “To come out and ask the race fans to sit for four plus hours is a lot. Thankfully some of them (stands) are covered but past that maybe late September would be a little better.”

“The weather will be a little bit cooler, which is nice for everybody. I know this race is the one of the hottest of the year,” NASCAR driver Ty Dillon said. “I think the change will be great, bring excitement back to the fans.”

Boles said, “The fact that NASCAR will crown its first regular season champion here and set the field for their championship, next year’s race will not be just about who wins.”

With temperatures expected around 100 degrees again this weekend, the hope is the action on the track will heat up after Busch did not get passed while the green flag flew last season. NASCAR’s new stage format has a chance to stir things up, but there is no guarantee given the narrow setup at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“If Busch does what Busch has done the last few years, it’s not going to matter, but it will matter second through position ten,” Boles said. “I think a lot of competition doesn’t always have to be at the front but it has to be throughout. I think we’ll see some of that because of stage racing this week.”

Whether it is July, August or September, a Brickyard comeback starts with a decent show this Sunday.

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