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3 Areas to Improve the $1 Million Challenge

2024 Indycar: $1 Million Challenge

The NTT IndyCar Series exhibition $1 Million Challenge was definitely a step in a new direction for the open-wheel series. While the product was hindered by smart teams saving tires and just an absolute rocket ship driven by Alex Palou, there are still some things on the edges the series can work on to improve this for the future.

An epic thrill show on asphalt never materialized and the prognostications by the series and teams that the event was going to be must-watch were misguided at best. However one critical factor was checked just by putting something on track, and that was IndyCar was on television and racing. Had this event been buried in the desert outside Palm Springs to be hidden from all to see, then a massive six-week gap was in store between race one and two of the season. Also, credit to IndyCar for trying. They got themselves on network television and got to rub elbows with John Elway, the famous Indianapolis Colts Denver Broncos quarterback, walk around with millionaires and hopefully got free lunches with IndyCar-themed business cards.

With that said, lets pretend what happens at the Thermal Club, stays at the Thermal Club and move on from here. But if the event returns next year, there is plenty of time for the series to grab a Magic 8 ball and shake every affirmation-seeking word out of it to figure out ways to make the show better for year two.

Lucky for all those in the Frontstretch universe, there’s a list right here of ideas, tweaks and additions that might make the return better than the Star Wars sequel trilogy.


Some of the racing challenges could be improved with tweaks to the format. To start, the number one change that must be enacted is adopting double-file restarts. Ironically, in NASCAR, their All-Star race was run with this rule before it was expanded to the entire series.

If this exhibition is going to be promoted as something like an epic adventure movie, then adding double-file restarts is as required as the CGI in a Marvel flick. It was surprising that the second half of the main heat wasn’t restarted with a double-file, which was a missed opportunity. While Colton Herta put on the only show during the race, it would have had a better shot of working if the field was bunched up. 

Another idea to look at is how the races are run, such as doing away with the smaller heats and leaning toward a 27-car full field. If the entire field is on track, then break it up into…

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