A prominent motorsports journalist says the Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard continues to be a "tough sell" for NASCAR, but isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The race, which attracted a quarter of a million fans for its first running in 1994, had attendance closer to 60,000 last year. During an interview that will air this weekend, Indy Star reporter Curt Cavin tells Bill Benner, despite sagging ticket sales, the race remains "pretty profitable" for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in large part because of television rights.
Cavin suggests a decision on the longer-term future of the Brickyard 400 and other races on the circuit may be a few years away. He says NASCAR recently inked a five-year contract with the tracks hosting its slate of races. "You might revisit here in three years and say ‘what does the next contract look like?’ But it’s pretty profitable at this point," Cavin says.
The 2016 edition features two prominent story lines with big Indiana connections. Rushville-native and two-time champion Tony Stewart will be running for his final time and five-time champ Jeff Gordon, who grew up in Pittsboro, is coming out of retirement as a replacement driver for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr.