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A re-imagined “Month of May” at Indianapolis? (VIDEO)

Sep 5, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

Seeing an IndyCar going the wrong way down the front-stretch of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway takes some getting used to. That much was probably true for everybody that was either at yesterday’s road course test at IMS, or have seen highlights of the affair.

We all know why the test came to fruition in the first place. IMS and INDYCAR officials wanted feedback as they ponder upgrades to the 2.6-mile layout while also considering a possible IZOD IndyCar Series road race at the Speedway for next season.

There have also been some rumblings about an end-of-year showcase on the Indy road course in the early fall, but it’s looking more and more like the IndyCars are leaning toward racing twice next May at the Brickyard.

It’s highly unscientific, but from what I’ve gathered, most folks aren’t opposed to the idea of an IndyCar road race at IMS itself. They just don’t want it in May, as they’re presumably concerned about keeping the traditions of the Indianapolis 500 sacred.

That argument is intriguing to me. Because if IMS and INDYCAR decide to stage a road race as a lead-in to the ‘500,’ would that not just be a re-imagined version of the one tradition that most purists have been upset about losing in recent times – the “Month of May”?

Oh, it wouldn’t be your father or grandfather’s Month of May with the pairing of a road race and the ‘500.’ But your father or grandfather’s Month of May was back in the days when the ‘500’ was the only race at Indy – and, more importantly, didn’t have to deal with the massive entertainment competition that it’s forced to contend with now.

For those that are worried a road race will detract from the month’s main event, just stop for a minute. Don’t you think that after a century, the ‘500’ has enough going for itself – even in American open-wheel racing’s recent state of struggle  – to ensure it won’t be overshadowed by a second race in May?

“I know it’s not going to be the ‘500’ – we all know that,” said Graham Rahal, who along with Ryan Briscoe tested out various configurations of the Indy road course yesterday.

“But if we can put on a good show, and get a good crowd and have a good vibe going into the month of May, it would be awesome. Times have changed. What was IndyCar 100 years ago isn’t what IndyCar is today. We have to change with the times.”

Graham, the son of 1986 ‘500’ winner Bobby, gets it. A road race at IMS in May wouldn’t be about ripping traditions apart.

In a perfect world, where INDYCAR is flush with cash and mainstream recognition, perhaps the series wouldn’t have to consider such a race like this. But if changes are made to the Indy road course and a lucrative title sponsor can be found for this potential endeavor, it could all work out nicely.

And, while it’d be in a different form, we’d get our “Month of May” back.

  1. indycarseries500 - Sep 5, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Contrary to popular belief the “Month of May” has been “re-imagined” many times, yes even before 1996, and will be “re-imagined” many more times.

  2. dan46778 - Sep 5, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Nooooooo if any thing they should go back to Indy for the road course in fall

  3. bmcgrath2 - Sep 5, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    I am not the most well versed guy with IndyCar, but I LOVE everything about IMS and the Indy 500.

    I just think this IMS road course race before the 500 is just flat-out gratuitous. If the 500 is big enough and has enough going for itself, then why mess with it or try adding to it?

  4. apexassassin - Sep 5, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    The road course at Indy SUCKS… even for the bikes.

    • kitnamania13 - Sep 6, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      That’s the most telling tale right there. If MotoGP can’t have a decent race there, what hope is there for Indy cars?

      • indycarseries500 - Sep 6, 2013 at 11:56 AM

        I think this year’s IndyGP has been the best race of the season so far in MotoGP. It’s not Spa, Laguna, Road America, Watkins Glen, etc. but it does have the capability to put on a good race especially with how racy the DW12 has been.

        Definitely interested to see what changes are being planned.

  5. Jeff - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    As far as I know, Briscoe nor Rahal tested the MotoGP course. They ran counterclockwise and clockwise, but at least one turn both way was through an oval turn.

    • indycarseries500 - Sep 8, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      They kind of did the MotoGp course the only difference was they went all the way around oval turn two and made a 90 degree turn into the infield.

      My idea would be to run the Formula One layout and either just run it as is for 2014 or connect turn 4 with Hulman BLVD then after the IndyGP tear it up and kind of create a mini-Monza for 2015-beyond. For the bikes keep the snake pit complex with a revised turns 2-4. They should keep the fact the course can be run in either direction as it’s something pretty unique.

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