Something New at IndyJuly 25th, 2012 at 10:29 am by Eric Halvorson under Eric Halvorson's Blog
I remember when the 500 was the only race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And purists considered it sacrilege to allow any other cars to cross the yard of bricks.
We heard a lot of such talk before the Brickyard 400. NASCAR’s arrival at Indy was perfectly timed for that series’ surge in popularity.
Since then Formula One came and went.
We have Moto-GP.
This week, the Speedway tries something new, again: Grand Am racing. The Rolex Series.
Michael Shank, the owner of Michael Shank Racing, appreciates the Speedway’s history. “I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and this place was the world to me … It’s hallowed ground, man. My favorite place on earth.”
I talked to Shank a few weeks ago, after getting a ride in one of his cars. That was a chance to publicize the race, to encourage people who’ve never seen these cars to come and check them out.
Shank described it as the best road racing competition in the country. “Our hard racing is more like NASCAR,” he told me. “Our high-tech cars are more like Formula One.”
They’ll use the Formula One course, going the opposite direction of what people see in the 500 or the 400. But, “we’re owned by NASCAR which means our rules are very tight. The cars are very equal. So, you’re going to see very hard racing, wheel to wheel rubbin’, bangin’ into each other…It’s really exciting stuff.”
It’s also timed. The person who’s ahead at the end of three hours will be the winner.
Shank hopes racing fans will take the time to sample this series on Friday. “We want everyone to come out here. I think there’s something for everybody.”