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Indianapolis Motor Speedway president dishes on bricks, muddy boots, NASCAR on oval

Boles on Behind the Bricks

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A full-throttle discussion on News 8’s “Daybreak” on Friday steered Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles between several hot topics.

They included the dirt track hosting races this weekend, and the seismic strategy shift for NASCAR coming in 2024.

“We’re almost busier now than we are in May,” Boles said.

The official reason for Boles’ visit was to discuss the new edition of the “Behind the Bricks” podcast, available through IMS and the All Indiana Podcast Network.

In the new episode, Boles took viewers and listeners to the IMS dirt track, one of his favorite spots at the speedway. The episode dove into the construction and maintenance of the quarter-mile oval, which hosts this weekend’s “Driven2SaveLives BC39”.

The podcast also revealed that Indianapolis Motor Speedway relies on an expert from the Kokomo Speedway to prep the dirt, pouring tens of thousands of gallons of water on it and roughing it up frequently with heavy machinery.

A tractor with sheepsfoot roller preps surface of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway dirt track ahead of Driven2SaveLives BC 39 in 2023. (Photo from Behind the Bricks Vidceo)

“It’s unbelievable, the science that goes into preparing the dirt surface,” Boles said. “You’re chasing it all the time, and we only run one time a year. So, it means we have to really get ahead of it on the front end. So the last two weeks, we’ve been working pretty hard at it.”

In a clear display of his enthusiasm for dirt track racing, the always-impeccably dressed Boles arrived at the studio in muddy boots and shared stories about hopping on the heavy equipment.

Blue suit and muddy boots for Doug Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo from Behind the Bricks Vidceo)

“For me to get a chance to get out and drive the grater, the water truck, the nice thing is they leave the keys in it so I can go out at night after I leave the office. So, it is a lot of fun.”

Once done with the dirt, the discussion drove toward the major move from NASCAR, which will not return to the road course next season. Instead, both the Xfinity and Cup series will run on the oval. The Pennzoil 250 will be July 20, and the return of the Brickyard 400 will be July 21.

“We knew at some point in time we needed to try the oval again,” Boles said.

He pointed to NASCAR’s still-new generation of cars as a new opportunity. He’s hopeful they will put on a better show than prior generations of cars, which were faster but consistently had trouble passing or running two-wide at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“So, it’s time to try it. We’ll see how it goes and then we’ll reevaluate after and then decide. Do we stay on the oval? Do we go to the road course, or do we kind of do a combination going forward?”

Pressed for more about the decision-making process bringing the Brickyard race to the oval and whether it’s a short-term move, Boles says the communication between NASCAR and IMS has never been better, but also indicated that fans ultimately have the final call.

He said, “100%. A lot of that will be how do we talk to our fans? We do a post-survey every year. Let’s see how the fans think about it, see how attendance is, and then we’ll make a decision for what 2025.”