Final Thoughts- Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix and the Shared Weekend

First, a few more thoughts on the race:

Romain Grosjean will win a race on the IMS road course next year. His 2021 statistics show he figured this track out very quickly- a pole, two second place finishes, and a third place starting spot. He is just seven points behind Scott McLaughlin for Rookie of the Year despite missing three races. I think Grosjean will end up winning the honor. He has performed better than McLaughlin most of the year.

Alexander Rossi’s fourth place finish was his best of the year. he was heading for a top five last eek in Nashville when he tangled with Pato O’Ward. Rossi finished fifth at Mid Ohio before the break, so he could have had three top fives in a row. I look for him to finish the season strong and maybe win one of the last four races.

O’Ward’s inconsistency will cost him the title. he seems to be good one race and bad the next. It will take a strong consistent run to win the title. We have yet to see that from him or the AMSP team.

How long has it been since the season champion won just twice? We may see that this year. There have been nine different winners in 12 races with just four races to go, and no one has won more than twice. I have a feeling we will at least tie the season record of 11 different winners, which leaves little margin for a third win by Palou or anyone else.

Sharing the Track

The Indycar/NASCAR shared weekend is a fine idea on paper, and IMS is one of less than a handful of tracks where it would work. But a new mindset needs to come into play on the scheduling.

Currently, this is NASCAR’s weekend at IMS. This weekend should be treated like baseball’s All Star Game, where both series get equal billing, and the home alternates each year.. I felt Indycar was treated as the lowest ranked series yesterday, going first before the minor league XFinity Series.

I think XFinity needs to return to Lucas Oil Raceway for a Friday night race and leave IMS to the two major series. NASCAR and Indycar should take turns being the Sunday feature race. It won’t be NASCAR’s weekend and it won’t be Indycar’s weekend. It will be a truly shared weekend. Obviously, both races would be on the road course.

It appears Roger Penske wants the Indianapolis 500 to be the only oval event at IMS. I applaud him for this appropriate stance.

The NTT Indycar Series moves to World Wide Technology Raceway next weekend for the final oval of 2021. It will also be the last race I cover in person this year.