Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goodbye Lucas Oil Raceway

2009 OReilly NNS double file restarts Jamie Squire Getty
Whether you know it as Lucas Oil Raceway, O'Reilly Raceway Park or even the old school Indianapolis Raceway Park, you know one thing: the track provides some of the greatest short track racing we see.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series has been visiting LOR since 1985 and has never disappointed fans. The race served as a kickoff event to the Brickyard 400 weekend and now with the addition of the Camping World Truck Series races, the race weekend was a delight for fans. If you had the chance to go to both LOR and the Brickyard, you had the best of both worlds: a short track at LOR (0.686 miles) and a 2.5-mile track at IMS, which some have referred to as a “parade” at times.

The Nationwide Series will move to Indianapolis Motor Speedway next year as part of a new campaign dubbed the "Super Weekend." Unknown in this whole move is the fate of the Camping World Truck Series at LOR. It has been said the series will not race during the “Super Weekend” due to all the other races occurring.
2008 ORP NNS sunset during Kroger 200 Doug Pensinger Getty
Fans and drivers alike have voiced their displeasure over the move. Kenny Wallace is hopeful that if Montreal is taken off the schedule for 2012, Lucas Oil Raceway could remain. I spoke with race fans via Facebook and Twitter for their reactions:

@cfstilettos "We travel from Chicagoland for the LORP truck and NNS races every year, then leave b4 cup. We are sad that we won't be back."

@AshleyAK19983 "The racing just won't be the same. It was an awesome Truck race last night, and I'm sad to see the competitive racing go...I would say this whole race weekend is my standout memory. They always put on a great show, the racing is highly competitive and I think you can say that more so since it's the final weekend at LOR."

A Facebook comment from Michael Matejka: "I still think it is a huge mistake for NASCAR to move this race...... It is one of the few races I truly look forward to. It has the best side by side racing and action of any on the schedule.... And all the drivers love it..... it will be missed...."

Kiara Boal, a Skirts and Scuffs contributor, recounted her visits to Lucas Oil Raceway. She said, “My thoughts, I'll miss the short track racing there. I loved it last year when I attended the Nationwide Series race. I'll never forget standing on my seat with 10 laps to go, shaking uncontrollably and tears filling my eyes as Kyle Busch leads the last laps. Then screaming at the top of my lungs during his burnout and bow to the crowd. Running down to the fence to watch my favorite driver and hero celebrate in Victory Lane with his crew. It was amazing.”

I for one, will hate to say goodbye to LOR/ORP or whichever name you have known it by. I thoroughly have enjoyed the racing the track has produced and hope that this is not the last time we see LOR on the NASCAR schedule.

So long, farewell ... thanks for the good memories, Lucas Oil Raceway.

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