Brickyard 400 Gets 3rd Different Date In 4 Years, To Switch Spots With Daytona On 4th Of July Weeken
INDIANAPOLIS – Part of NASCAR’s major schedule overhaul is a very controversial one – a date swap between the stop at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Daytona International Speedway.
For the third time in the last four years, the Brickyard 400 gets a new date. The race was held on July 23 in 2017. Last year, it was Sept. 10. This year, it’s Sept 8. But, in 2020, the race is being moved back to July but this time, much earlier in the month.
The new date for the Brickyard 400 is July 5, 2020. You may have caught that the date is the Fourth of July weekend. Historically, that has always been a spot for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.
See, in 1959, NASCAR originally wanted a 300 mile Indy Car race in July in Daytona. Unfortunately, due to fatalities during testing, the idea was scrapped. With such a short turnaround, the track and NASCAR worked together to add a second date to the sport on the newly constructed high banked 2.5-mile oval.
The race was born with a date on July 4 and tabbed the Firecracker 250. The race was slated to begin in the morning to beat the afternoon thunderstorms.
Due to popularity, the race was moved from 250 miles to 400 miles for 1963 on.
From 1959 to 1987, the race was always scheduled for July 4, regardless of the day of the week. Beginning in 1988, the race was moved to the first Saturday of July (that nearest to July 4). Going forward, the race would only be held on July 4 in years in which it fell on Saturday.
Then, in 1998, the race was moved to a night race.
Now though, the race is moving to September in a switch with Indy. The Cup regular season will start in Daytona and now end in Daytona.
Coincidentally enough, this isn’t the first time talks have began with Indy taking over on the 4th weekend. In 1980, due to a tax dispute with the City of Daytona Beach and Volusia County, Bill France openly threatened to move the Firecracker 400 to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A few weeks later, however, the parties reconciled, and the plan to move the race was withdrawn.
Now, it’s happening.
The Brickyard had lost its luster hence the date change to September. See, moving the race to the final race of the regular season made sense to add urgency. Plus, a lot of the criticism from the fans was that the race that was run in July was too hot. Moving it to September meant cooler temperatures and more riding on the race itself.
While this is a new date for IMS, the Brickyard weekend took place in late July or early August for its first 24 years, moving to early September in 2018.
“There’s no better venue to throw a massive party for our nation’s birthday than the Racing Capital of the World,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Fourth of July weekend is a celebration of patriotism and getting outside in the summer with family and friends, and a Big Machine concert and NASCAR racing at the Speedway combine those two traditions, making for a special Independence Weekend celebration!
“A record 47 million Americans were estimated to have traveled on Fourth of July weekend in 2018, and we’re confident that this new date and a host of fun activities on and off the track at IMS will help draw more fans to our venue and build on the buzz surrounding last year’s enhanced schedule. We’re looking forward to a can’t-miss holiday extravaganza for Hoosiers and sports fans everywhere.”
Said Visit Indy Senior Vice President Chris Gahl: “With a regular spike in travel to Indy over the Fourth of July holiday, hosting this nationally televised race will create a monumental weekend for the city. From a tourism standpoint, marrying July 4 and an event at the iconic track will dramatically boost visitor spending and amplify the national media buzz coming out of Indy.”
A strong, generation-spanning connection between IMS and honoring America will be enhanced through this new event date. Starting in 2020, IMS will host major event weekends on two holidays that celebrate American values, patriotism and sacrifice – the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Memorial Day weekend and the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line on Independence Day weekend.
Along with FGL Fest, the Driven2SaveLives BC39 powered by NOS Energy Drink United States Auto Club (USAC) National Midget Championship event also will move to the new NASCAR event week in July 2020. The Speedway will also look to add special events and activations to the weekend schedule as part of its embrace of the holiday weekend.