Smith's NASCAR/IndyCar idea has potential, but plan must be revised
They'd be long, long odds and make the premium (a high-stakes gamble for the company that takes the risk) worth paying, for the tickets it would sell and the television viewers who would watch. Grand idea, Bruton, but the plan needs some revisions for there to be enough drivers and teams willing to undertake the time, expense and effort involved. They need to have a legitimate chance at winning both races to fully buy into what would be the largest payday in auto racing history.
Smith needs to move the Charlotte race to Saturday night and have qualifying on Thursday. That schedule would leave Indy's Friday (the final practice known as Carburetion Day) and Sunday running intact and leave Monday for a rain date for either event.
"I think if he's (Smith) really realistic about it, then he should move his race to Saturday night," Harvick said. "Move your race to Saturday night and put your money where your mouth is after that. Give everybody a realistic shot at it ... it's not a show if you don't give everybody a realistic shot. That way those guys can really prepare for it and be in the cars at the right time and then give them a fair shot."
Smith undoubtedly would like to have his race after Indianapolis, to capitalize on the spike in television viewers zeroing in on the driver with the chance at the $20 million prize. But running Charlotte on Saturday would increase driver participation. Instead of two or three trying to run both races, there could be 10. That should help with ticket sales and the television rating. It also would allow for stronger media coverage.
Imagine a Coca-Cola 600 with
Yes, they'd need support from their car owners and sponsors and, maybe, their engine manufacturers. Toyota drivers in Sprint Cup likely wouldn't get permission to run in the all-Honda Indy 500. The rivalry between the two Japanese manufacturers is too bitter and contentious. But Chevrolet dropped the personal services contracts with its Sprint Cup drivers last year, making it contractually possible. If Johnson and Gordon were able to convince
Wouldn't sponsors like Lowe's with Johnson and DuPont with Gordon like the opportunity to go to Indy with their trademarked driver in what could be a ratings bonanza? And what if one of them won both?
It would be the ultimate challenge for drivers and teams in IndyCar and Sprint Cup. First, they'd have to qualify for both races, then race in different types of cars on different tracks on consecutive days. The $20 million for winning both would be a just reward for one of racing's greatest accomplishments.