While NASCAR’s top series is no stranger to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, having competed on the fabled 2.5-mile oval every year since 1994, few Cup drivers have ever raced on Indy’s 2.43-mile road course that is set to host its first Cup race this weekend. Last year, the NASCAR Xfinity Series competed on the Indy road course for the first time in what proved to be a highly chaotic but entertaining affair as now-Cup Series rookie Chase Briscoe scored the victory.
Briscoe will likely be the only driver in the field this weekend who has logged significant laps around the 13-turn course, so it’s anyone’s guess how the race will play out. “No idea,” said 2017 Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., one of the Cup Series’ top road-course racers. “All I know about is what I’ve seen on TV, so I've got a lot of homework to do, obviously, to get prepared and ready for practice on Saturday there. It will be fun. It’s exciting to go to new tracks, and I like road courses as well, so it should be good.”
Some drivers, though, are going to miss racing on the more familiar oval track, which first opened in 1909 and stands as one of the most iconic landmarks in all of motorsports. “I definitely think the feeling is going to be different, for sure,” said Christopher Bell, one of Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates. “We all grew up watching the oval at Indy, so it’s definitely going to be a lot different.”