The Brickyard 400 has received mixed reviews from the SportsRantz Fan Council. But the report card must be given to Indy no matter how much history and prestige comes with the track. Majority of the Fan Council rated the race 7 out of 10 which makes it slightly better than my original projections were. The Council agreed that the mid-race lagged some but a few said that they enjoyed the fuel mileage becoming a factor at the end. Mike Harmon tweeted me saying in order for Indy to be a 10 they needed to be side by side at the line to take the checkered flags.
So, a “slightly” boring race set up an incredible finish that will forever be burned into the history books at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Oh, did I mention the race winner was Paul Menard? And if you were one of the very few who picked Paul Menard…I suggest you go out and buy yourself a lottery ticket.
Broadcast: A- ; ESPN brought some new things to the table this year and made the broadcast better. And trust me; I think anything would beat TNT so I didn’t judge ESPN with TNT. I used FOX to judge against the ESPN Broadcast. Also, ESPN will use the dual screens for the last 10 races so you will see the race and commercial at the same time (we saw this once or twice with TNT who claimed to have “wide open” coverage).
Attendance: B+; slightly more or average for a NASCAR race at Indy but still more than what the biggest football game has brought in.
Venue: A; First off, it is Indy and the expectations are high. Since I didn’t attend this race I asked SportsRantz NASCAR Fan Council Member, Brian Wiggins, his thoughts.
Here is what Brian had to say: “My time at the Brickyard 400 was fantastic. Although, it didn’t get started that way due to miscommunication between NASCAR, IMS and their workers on Thursday. Once that got all worked out, everything was smooth. Chevy day on Friday was another great experience. I had the pleasure of meeting and getting autographs from Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray and Tony Stewart. I then stood on the paddock in the garage area to watch opening practice for the Brickyard 400 and got to see many big names in NASCAR pass directly below me. On Saturday, I was one of the lucky fans that did not have to camp out over night to get a wristband for the largest autograph session of the 2011 season thanks to winning two via Richard Childress Racing prior to coming down. Picked up my wristband, walked around to the vendor trailers and kept getting mistaken for Joey Logano or his brother ( happened a total of 5 times on the weekend) and went to the Sprint Stage and won multiple prizes for answering trivia questions. When I got in line, I got to meet my childhood favorite driver, Jeff Burton, and the nicest driver to fans, Robby Gordon. Sunday, was by far the best day. In the morning, I went to my very first tweetup. And thanks to Jeff Gluck, I got to meet NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett and David Ragan as well as a few media members in NASCAR. With everyone being so nice and willing to chat, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my 11 years at the Brickyard. The race was exciting. I had the best seats I have ever had, sitting on the exit of Turn 1 and got to see the best finish in the 400 since the Inaugural race in 1994. Overall, it was a fantastic experience! Nothing compares to being at the Brickyard when the magic happens! Can’t wait for next year’s edition!”
Hence the grade for the venue, folks! Brian’s experience is one that many fans dream of having!
The Brickyard 400’s Overall Grade: A-