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Nationwide heads to Indianapolis in 2012

"That's going to be a pretty big deal," said Kyle Busch. "There's not many series that get an opportunity to race at the big track, so for the Nationwide Series, it will be a huge deal."

Busch is a Cup season regular and also makes appearances in Nationwide, and on hearing the news about the switch to IMS he confirmed: "I'm excited about it. I bet you I'll be in it."

"It's awesome they're going to the big track," said Busch's team mate at Joe Gibbs Racing, Joey Logano. "It's the Brickyard. It's a cool race track. That and Daytona are up there right next to each other on how cool those two tracks are."

"Just to come here to Indianapolis to race anything is huge," said Carl Edwards. "It will be a lot of fun. It will be different because we'll be able to sit back and watch some of these spectacular races, you know, during the Super Weekend next year. It will be cool for all the drivers."

The switch means that a three decade historic association between NASCAR and Lucas Oil Raceway is at an end. Nationwide has run at the 30,000-capacity 0.686 mile short oval - formerly called Indianapolis Raceway Park - since 1982 when the series began, with the Camping World Truck Series joining the line-up in 1995.

“We are disappointed that the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series will not return to Lucas Oil Raceway on their customary race weekend" said Wes Collier, general manager of Lucas Oil Raceway. "The Kroger 200 and the AAA Insurance 200 have long been one of the 'can't miss' events for race fans in the Midwest."

Track officials said that they would not be hosting a Truck Series race during the Indy race weekend in 2012, even though there is no Truck race scheduled for the Indianapolis event. Although the door has been "left open" for other stand-alone deals for Truck or even Nationwide events to be held there, Lucas Oil Raceway management did not say it was actively pursuing any such events.

Defending Truck Series champion Todd Bodine was among those who was sorry to be losing the short oval venue. "I don't like the thought of Trucks and Nationwide not going back," he said. "There's so much history, so much tradition. We've lost that part of our sport, the history and tradition of the short track ... That's where most of us grew up.

"You have to have advancement, you have to grow, you have to do all those things and unfortunately part of the casualty of that is the tradition," he conceded, adding: "It's a shame. I hope we still race there."

But the allure of the "big track" at IMS proved irresistible and does indeed add to the impression that Nationwide is becoming a big deal in its own right and at last stepping out of the shadow of its Cup big brother.




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