INDIANAPOLIS — This could be the final time NASCAR has back-to-back races at two of the world’s most historic tracks.
After racing last weekend at stock car racing’s most historic facility — Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, the sanctioning body’s Xfinity Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will visit Indianapolis Motor Speedway, arguably the most prestigious track in the world.
Next year, the Brickyard 400 weekend at the 2.5-mile oval moves to Fourth of July weekend, separating it from Darlington’s Southern 500 weekend.
“I feel like in NASCAR we are extremely lucky to have so many internationally recognized, marquee race tracks,” said Justin Allgaier, who drives for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. “Obviously, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the world’s most historic speedway, if not one of the two or three most famous tracks. I look at Monaco as being as historical and Le Mans being similar, but all different styles of being historic.
“This place has so much history, though.”
Allgaier believes it’s more than the track that makes it historic; it’s about the fans.
“There are a lot of fans here that are Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans,” Allgaier explained. “They could care less what is on track; they are Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans and that is pretty special.
“Then at Darlington, to have the throwback weekend. I believe Darlington’s culture embodies what NASCAR is all about,” Allgaier added. “Last week, I ran through the infield on Friday night and ran through the infield and outside, just to see the fans that were hanging out.
“It was really special to have that weekend.”
Allgaier, who won last year’s Indiana 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, believes the past two years that the Darlington and Indianapolis races came back to back was something special.
“This is the last opportunity to have these two races back to back and it will change it a lot,” Allgaier said. “I’m OK with the weather this week. I don’t know what the weather will be like when we return on July 4, but I like the weather this week.”
Allgaier was also referring to last year’s horrible weather that included three days of rain and washed away all track activity on Friday through Sunday, forcing both the Xfinity Series and Cup Series to race on Monday.
Allgaier started second and led 41 laps en route to winning the 100-lap Xfinity Series race.
“To say that we’ve won at Indianapolis, that’s really special and that means a lot,” Allgaier said. “I came back here last winter for the PRI Show and I walked into the Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a seminar and that was a really surreal feeling.
“It was very special.”
Allgaier is winless this season, but ranks fourth in the standings, with the playoff cutoff looming next week at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.
“Our speed is way better than it has been the last few months,” Allgaier said. “We started off the season and weren’t as fast as the top three. We are now as good, if not better, than they are.
“We just need that racing luck to go our way. Then, we can challenge for the championship and challenge to win races. We need to find that little extra bit that we need and then we’ll be pretty good.”
A great way to spark a championship run would be a second Indianapolis victory.
“If we could win again at Indy, it would be even bigger from the fact that nobody had any practice last year, we got in and started the race,” Allgaier recalled. The whole weekend was weird, but I do feel like it would be awesome to go to victory lane and do it the normal way (instead of a Monday).
“That would be a lot more fun.”