Another great spectacle coming to IMS with IndyCar, NASCAR doubleheader

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For the first time ever, IndyCar and NASCAR will collide this weekend.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host the two powerhouses this weekend for a doubleheader for the first time in racing history.

IMS President Doug Boles said, “So maybe one of the good things that came out of the coronavirus is the opportunity to have that NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader we’ve been talking about for a long time.”

It’s a silver lining that is actually historic: The NASCAR Cup series, Xfinity and IndyCar will share the same track. The sharing part is where things get tricky. With over 100 drivers in the city for the weekend, there’s only so many pits, garages and everything in between to go around. Planning this doubleheader took some detailed choreography.

Boles added, “I’ve been pretty impressed with how well NASCAR and IndyCar have worked together to solve the garage issues and the paddock issues, where the transporters going to be, where do drivers have access and where do they not. It’s been pretty neat to see everybody work together. So I’m excited that the first opportunity to do that is going to be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And I think the way we’re rolling it out, having both IndyCar and Xfinity car and Xfinity out on the road course and then a completely different configuration on Sunday for the Cup cars actually does a good job of showcasing both and not really putting anybody in a position to say, ‘Hey, I’m the most important event of the weekend.'”

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So, for garages, the split looks like this, as Boles said: “So the IndyCar drivers are going to be in the F1 garages for the IndyCar race, the Xfinity drivers are going to be in what we call the IndyCar garages for that day, and then I think on Sunday the NASCAR cup drivers are going to move into the garages where the IndyCar drivers are when they get here.”

Here’s where planning could get chaotic. Saturday’s schedule looks like this:

  • 9 a.m.: IndyCar teams take the track for warm-up.
  • Noon: IndyCar Grand Prix begins.
  • Between 2-3 p.m.: 80 laps on the road course should wrap up and the NASCAR Xfinity race begins.

That schedule leaves an hour window before the next green flag drops on the same circuit. Then, 60 minutes for the IndyCar crew to clear the pit stalls and the NASCAR Xfinity teams move in, all with social distancing.

“So just getting to this point has been a pretty big deal. It’s taken a lot of coordination between NASCAR and IndyCar to make sure that the rules are correct,” Boles said.

Overnight, IMS will adjust the oval before the Brickyard begins Sunday afternoon. 

If IMS pulls off the never-been-done-before doubleheader, they will likely do it again. 

“In a perfect world, my dream would be that next year, when we can actually host fans again for the NASCAR weekend, that we can do it all over again so that we can make this maybe a regular,” Boles said.