Photo by Chris Owens, Indycar
Fans either enjoyed or hated the Music City Grand Prix. Overall, I thought it was a terrible race with some intriguing twists and turns. My parameters for a good race include no more than 25% under caution. 46% is way too high.
Four drivers have had contact in both Nashville races. Colton Herta was able to continue this year and finished fifth. Dalton Kellet, Takuma Sato, and Jimmie Johnson have not seen the checkered flag in the Music City.
I am out of ideas for how to improve the racing. The track revisions didn’t help produce a better race. Maybe it is on the drivers. I had a conversation with some Twitter friends last night. We discussed the aggressive driving this race seems to produce. I wonder if Nashville’s place on the schedule has anything to do with what we see?
I don’t recall seeing such aggressive moves throughout the race in St. Pete, Detroit, or Long Beach. By the time Nashville occurs, with just four races left, drivers at the top are trying to get every point they can. Other drivers are fighting for jobs for the following season, and some may be fighting for the last spot in the Leaders’ Circle. Would this race be better earlier in the year?
The Music City Grand Prix snatched a permanent place in the Indycar record book as the track where Scott Dixon won his 53rd career race. Now only A. J. Foyt, with 67, is ahead of him. I was happy to hear the two men in their twenties sitting next to me talk about this near the end of the race. I hope they appreciate this in future years.
I’m not sure how many times I have seen Dixon win in person, but I think it is at least a dozen. I have seen him win in the manner of legends- starting last at Mid Ohio and ending up in the winner’ circle; coming from nearly 60 points behind to win the last race of the year for the championship; saving fuel to outlast the rest of the field.
Dixon is just six points behind Will Power with three races left. he is the last person Power wants to see this close to him at this point of the year. Should Dixon emerge as the season champion, he will earn anbother place in history- tied with Foyt with seven titles.
Music City Grand prix organizers made a lot of improvements since their first event last year. Digital tickets were much easier to access since fans didn’t have to go through the Titans’ app to try to find them.
Gate access was much easier this year. The staff was friendlier and the line moved quickly. There was some confusion as to which gate was for fans with VIP access and which gates ere for other fans.
The grandstands and other infrastructure was all in place buy the time the gates opened Friday morning. The crossover bridge from turn 1 to the infield had an in and an out bridge, which made the trip much easier both ways. Track crossing points were added for fans who have mobility issues. They should have adjusted the times yesterday during the rain delay. many fans hoping to cross to the outer grandstands needed to take the long trek around to get to their seats.
Another crossover bridge near grandstands 6 and 7 might solve a problem here.
Suites and Stands
I am glad that the event has enough interest that more suites appeared for this race. The suites cut off some good grandstand views, however. The new grandstand 7 blocked the view of turn 9 from grandstand 6, which I expected when i chose to sit there. I was not that thrilled with the sightline from my seat. The suites need to be moved back about five feet.
One addition I would like to see for 2023 is a tram shuttle. Fans with seats in the outer stands have a very long walk to get to their seats. For some, the distance may preclude them coming over to the main area around the stadium of the in field to visit friends.
The path from the stadium to 6and 7 also needs work. it is a narrow sidewalk which is used by both pedestrians and golfcart. The accumulated water at the end of the walk Sunday made it even more congested. It appeared there is enough room to accomodate a wider path. One of their clubs might have to give up some space, but it would improve safety.
The Back Entrance
On Friday my Uber driver let me off at the back entrance, near grandstands 6 and 7. This entrance looks like it was added as an afterthought. There is no welcoming signage, just TSA style security gates. Next door is an auto recycling yard, fully visible to all who enter. I understand the need for this entrance. It does take some pressure off the main entrance for the crowds who will sit over there, but the area needs some major spiffing up.
An overhead banner, some signs of welcome, and event volunteers to greet fans would help this desolate outpost feel like it was part of the event.+
Thanks to everyone who followed this lowly site this weekend. I had a better time this year than I did here in 2021, and I was pleased to see the improvements that were in place. I realize it takes several years for an event like this to get everything right. This event is going in the right direction. Let’s work on the racing.