This isn’t exactly a secret and it’s been speculated since testing was announced at the track at the end of the 2006 season, but the Daytona Beach News-Journal has been the first to come out and say it.
After successful tests in the Daytona International Speedway, the Indy Racing League will also open the 2007 IndyCar Series with a preseason testing in DIS. By 2008, DIS and the Indy Racing League hope to have a race in Daytona during Speedweeks.Speedweeks are a pretty jam-packed pair of weeks in February, but the IRL would be scoring big time if they can lock up participation in these festivities. Even though they would be racing on a different course from the NASCAR racers, the league would garner a sizeable audience during what has become the most popular race event in North America. League officials, teams, and sponsors would all be pleased.
BTW – It pains me to say that, but I can’t ignore the truth. The Daytona 500 is more popular than the Indy 500. But not in my house.
Now, inking a deal for Speedweeks isn’t all a bowl of cherries. Would racing on the undercard of the Daytona 500 give the appearance of secondary status? Well, duh. Does it give Uncle Sam, Well Done, et al two weeks to hobnob with the mega-bucks of NASCAR? You bet. Would it make the IRL look like a feeder series for NASCAR? Quite possibly.
But despite these concerns it would more than likely be a successful (read: profitable) event for the league, and in the long run profitability is more important than any appearance of subordination. More money draws new sponsors, owners and drivers – just ask those guys in the bumping behemoths.
Besides, if the IRL is going to keep ending the season in September then there is much to be gained by getting the IndyCar season fired up in early February.