INDIANAPOLIS – When it was announced that the Brickyard 400 would be moving from late July to September in 2018 and beyond, the main reason was to make the race relevant again. See, it unfortunately became just another race on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Crowds dipped from once was 200,000+ spectators in attendance to an estimate attendance between 30-40k in recent years. So, a move to the regular season finale, would move the race to a more favorable date in Sept which would also be better in the weather department as well.
But, the only drawback to that move was a potential conflict with the Indianapolis Colts. IMS President Doug Boles said in 2016 that he had hoped that the Colts and the NFL would work with them by scheduling the home team on the road in Week 1 of the regular season.
Unfortunately, due to a Taylor Swift concert at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2018, which was scheduled to take place at the Colts’ home field during Week 2, the NFL didn’t want the Colts to have to open the year off with two road games. So, a home date against the Cincinnati Bengals ensued on Sunday, Sept. 9. That also was the first year that the Brickyard was moved to Sept which meant a head-to-head date.
Not good for walk up ticket sales at IMS.
Well, with the NFL releasing their 2019 schedule for the upcoming season on Wednesday, the main thing on it for Indianapolis residents was that the Colts will open up on the road on Sept. 8. They’ll play in Los Angeles at 4:05 p.m. ET against the Chargers.
That means the Brickyard 400 will not have a conflict with the Colts’ schedule now. That’s big.
Last year, not only was it going head to head, the weather didn’t cooperate. Remnants of a hurricane made it to Central Indiana for the Brickyard weekend, washing out literally all on track activity and moving both the Cup and XFINITY Series races to the Monday after.
This year, hopefully the weather cooperates because the NFL did. Then, next year the race moves back to July for the 4th weekend meaning no conflict for the foreseeable future.