“In the Know”
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
After 27 consecutive years of racing the 2.5 mile oval at Indianapolis, the NASCAR Cup Series will switch gears on Sunday August 15th and race the 14-turn, 2.439 mile road course for the very first time. The weekend will also feature a new NTT INDYCAR Series race on Saturday August 14th on the road course, prepping for another history making NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend.
● Event: Verizon 200 at the Brickyard (Round 24 of 36)
● Time/Date: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 15
● Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
● Layout: 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course
● Laps/Miles: 82 laps / 200 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 15 laps / Stage 2: 20 laps / Final Stage: 47 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC / IMS Radio Network / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
What Our Drivers are Saying:
Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang
For 20 years you’ve driven through the tunnel and into Indianapolis Motor Speedway knowing that you would be racing on the oval. This year when you arrive at Indy, you’ll be racing on the road course. What will that be like?
“For me, driving through that tunnel and understanding the history and everything that comes with racing on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is something that I always look forward to. I can’t imagine driving backward on the frontstretch and driving the road course in the infield. It’s an oval thing for me. When you look at the oval and you look at the history of the racetrack and everything that comes with that – some guys may not have grown up like that, so some people will have a much different opinion – but for me the oval just holds a huge place in racing and it holds a huge place in the things that I look forward to every year. I remember the first time I pulled in there for a test in 2001 and you roll into the racetrack and you think, ‘Man, I just accomplished everything in my childhood dreams, rolling into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.’ Getting to go out on that racetrack and hearing the echoes of the cars through the grandstand is something that I’ll never forget, standing there on the front straightaway. I’m sure I’ll get over it as we start to get into practice and realize it’s just another race but, for me, it’s going to be a difficult hurdle to overcome.”
Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your thoughts on racing the Indianapolis road course this weekend instead of the oval?
“If I’m being honest, I’m sad about it – to be just honest. I think racing on the oval was so cool just because I was a kid and went and watched an Indy 500 back in the late ’90s. It was a special place and to race on the oval was just special. I mean, you think about the history of that racetrack and the people that have run around that rectangular racetrack and crossed that yard of bricks and all those things, and all the races that went on before you dating back to the early 1900s, it’s just a very special place. So, to not race on the oval is weird. I’ll certainly miss it, but I have no doubt that we will put on an exciting race on the road course and it will be a lot of fun to try and figure that place out. These new road courses have been favorable with the fans, so I hope we put on a good show for them.”
Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
When you revisit last year’s Xfinity Series win on the road course, what sticks out in your mind the most?
“It’s still hard to believe it happened. I thought I threw it away and then, somehow, we were three-wide. I’m still not sure how that happened, but once we got to the final corner on the final lap I knew that we had it. It was a special moment and I remember heading toward the line and the yard of bricks and just thinking, ‘Man, I wish we had fans here.’ I knew I wanted to climb the fence, I had been telling everyone all week that, if we won, I was doing it and I was kissing the bricks. It didn’t matter to me that it wasn’t the oval, I won at Indy and I may never win again, so I’m not skipping that. I had no idea at the time that it was the first race at Indy with Hoosiers finishing first and second. It was really cool to be able to be a part of that with Justin (Haley). The other piece that, of course, added to how special it was, was to get that win with Zippy. Never in a million years did I think I’d win at Indy for Stewart-Haas Racing with Greg Zipadelli as my crew chief.”
Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Autodesk Fusion 360/HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
It’s almost everyone’s first time on the Indy road course this weekend. Is there anything from the previous road-course races this year that can carry over into your performance this weekend?
“The Glen is a little bit of its own animal, I feel like, just because it’s so fast and a little bit different than everywhere else. Indy, I think you can take some of the stuff we’ve learned this year and apply it there. Obviously, this is the year we’ve run the most road courses and we’ve been able to see a lot of different things and I think you’re able to hone in on what you will need. I expect the Indy road course will be difficult. The simulator work we’ve been doing is to try and get ready and get acquainted with the corners, and then we’ll try and adapt as quickly as we can once we get there. That’s been the name of the game – you have to adapt once you get to the racetrack. We’ll have practice and qualifying, so that’s better than just showing up and racing.”
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, has made a total of 47 NASCAR Cup Series starts on road courses. He has 20 starts at Sonoma, 20 at Watkins Glen, three at the Charlotte Roval, two on the Daytona road course, one at COTA and one at Road America. He has scored two wins – Watkins Glen in 2006 and Sonoma in 2017 – along with 10 top-fives and 24 top-10s with 195 laps led.
Last weekend on the road course at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Aric Almirola started eighth and ran in and around the top-15 for the majority of the race, ultimately crossing the finish line 16th. Almirola has 27 road-course starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. He has two top-10 finishes with a best of eighth at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, five top-20s at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International with a best finish of 12th, three top-20s on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval with a best finish of 14th, and a top-12 finish in the non-points Busch Clash Feb. 9 on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course – his best road-course finish of the year.
Sunday’s 82-lap race will be Cole Custer’s 63rd Cup Series start. He drove to an impressive fifth-place finish in last year’s Brickyard 400 on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. It was his first of two top-fives during his Cup Series Rookie of the Year campaign, which he followed up with a dramatic victory the following weekend at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Custer will be making his eighth points-paying Cup Series race on a road course. In his seven previous points-paying Cup Series starts on road courses, Custer’s best was a ninth-place run on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval last October.
Chase Briscoe returns to Indiana already a winner at the Brickyard. Last year, when the NASCAR Xfinity Series competed on the Indianapolis road course, he fulfilled a childhood dream by winning the Brickyard 150 on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn layout. The win made Briscoe the first driver to do so on the Indianapolis road course in a stock car.
Of Special Interest
Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com