Motorsport News

NASCAR Must Learn From Indianapolis Communications

Nascar Cup Series

The way the weather delays at the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 were handled this past Sunday (May 26) were night and day from each other, and it revealed an area where NASCAR can heavily improve.

As a media member who was there, I can tell you firsthand that the folks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar did an excellent job in keeping us briefed on the situation and what their plans were. They were proactive.

At 6 a.m., IMS President Doug Boles held a press conference. That’s right, I said at 6 in the morning! I’ve never seen a press conference so early, but it was necessary.

All the media and a lot of fans get to the Indy 500 well before 6 a.m., so it made sense to do it at that time. And we all knew from looking at the forecast that weather was going to impact the race in some capacity, so there needed to be a game plan.

Boles was transparent in the presser, and he told us they’d keep us posted on what was going on. Keep in mind this was over five hours before the first lightning delay or rain drop.

The next update from Boles came a little before 11 a.m., a little over an hour and a half before the Indy 500’s scheduled start time. This time he said they would make a decision at 11:15 a.m. on whether to go ahead with the opening ceremonies or delay them and tell fans to seek shelter. He said they were going to be far more cautious than the typical eight-mile lightning radius used at sporting events, because the very old IMS has limited spots to find shelter.

I’m not sure about the first Boles press conference, but Frontstretch‘s Tom Blackburn said that local TV station WTHR and radio station WFNI aired the second presser live. Other stations could’ve as well, but we don’t know if they did or not.

Boles and the IndyCar team even broke news during his second presser, revealing that Kyle Larson was sticking around to run the race despite the delay.

Right on time, at 11:15, the numerous video boards around IMS showed the lightning delay message. After a four-hour delay, the weather was gone, the track was dry and the race started, going the full distance.

Over at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR did not communicate half as well. Frontstretch‘s Stephen Stumpf was there and told me that there were no proactive updates from NASCAR or the folks at Speedway…

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