NASCAR Vs. IndyCar: Which Motorsport Reigns Supreme?
- The racesNASCAR runs 36 events from February to November each year, plus an additional four exhibition races (the Sprint Unlimited, Budweiser Duels, Sprint Showdown and Sprint All-Star Race).IndyCar has only 16 races from March to August, although that does include one doubleheader (in Detroit). That’s less than half the NASCAR schedule, although IndyCar will expand with an additional Boston race in 2016.
- The driver with the most interesting nameNASCAR has A.J. Allmendinger.IndyCar’s defending champion is named Will Power. And yes, that is his actual, legal name.
- The tailgatingIf you’re reading this article, then you know how big NASCAR tailgating is. It's so big that it’s seen the rise of on-track convenience stores and whole supermarket locations.IndyCar also has tailgating, but it tends to be a little cozier. If you want the complete tailgating experience, it’s Sprint Cup all the way.
- The premier eventNASCAR’s biggest race is the Daytona 500, which had its 57th running this year and snagged some 13.4 million viewers on TV (NASCAR no longer releases gate attendance numbers).IndyCar has the Indianapolis 500, which had its 99th event last month and pulled in some 6.4 million viewers. IndyCar has a smaller TV draw but more history.
- Better use of Jeff GordonIndyCar let Jeff Gordon drive the pace car at the beginning of the Indianapolis 500 this year.Then he flew to Charlotte and finished 18th in NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600. We prefer our Gordon at race speed, not pace speed.
- The tracksNASCAR and IndyCar actually share several tracks. Both series compete at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Sonoma Raceway. NASCAR also has Daytona and Vegas, which trumps everywhereIn addition to the shared tracks, IndyCar has a Florida stop in St. Petersburg and a California stop in Long Beach.
- The trophiesJimmie Johnson’s trophy for winning at Kansas was a big SpongeBob Squarepants, thanks to Nickelodeon sponsoring the race. At other tracks, you get things like live lobsters and monster statues. Um, we’re okay with just the regular trophy.IndyCar is fairly traditional with its winners, giving them a hat and a trophy, the most interesting of which is the Borg-Warner Trophy for winning the Indianapolis 500 (because the winners’ faces are put on it).
- The fan experienceNASCAR does a great job of providing fun for their fans at the race track. There are race-weekend autograph sessions with drivers (although some take place in areas that are specially ticketed, such as Pocono’s Fan Fair). Tracks have plenty for kids, too.IndyCar also adds lots of fun for its fans at the track, with autograph signings and children's activities. Fan access and interaction is definitely a focus in IndyCar.
I guess that's only fair, because the race fan is the real winner.