The NASCAR Xfinity Series‘ first race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, scheduled for 4 July, now has an identity. On Tuesday, track officials announced the race will be known as the Pennzoil 150, and will be held over 62 laps on the fourteen-turn configuration.
“Anticipation continues to build as more exciting details are revealed about the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard, which will help to launch a new era for the annual NASCAR weekend at IMS,” track president J. Douglas Boles stated. “We’re thankful to all of our partners, especially Pennzoil and NASCAR, for their support of this historic race. The Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard will add even more great action to go along with live music from superstar acts, fireworks, food, friends and fun during a Fourth of July weekend party to remember.”
In late January, Matt DiBenedetto tested an Xfinity car on the twelve- and fourteen-turn layouts in preparation for the race. The week prior, NASCAR confirmed the Xfinity race would be moved from the oval, which has held NASCAR’s second-tier series since 2012, to the infield road course. Later in the month, Xfinity Series director Wayne Auton announced the series would race on the fourteen-turn course.
The fourteen-turn course is currently used by the IndyCar Series for the GMR Grand Prix. While the twelve-turn layout uses the oval’s turn one, the fourteen-turn, 2.439-mile configuration bypasses it in favour of a chicane.
“The part that I like the most about this course is that it actually does have multiple passing opportunities, and that was one of the things we wanted to evaluate is how it’s going to race, how technical it is in the passing zone,” DiBenedetto noted. “So, the cool thing is what we love as road racers is heavy braking zones. Clearly, the end of the front straightaway here, you have a very heavy braking zone. You also have another long back straightaway getting into Turn 7, which is a heavy braking zone. And then on the 14-turn course, you have another braking zone coming into (Turns) 12, 13, and 14.”
As with every other NASCAR national series race, the Pennzoil 150 will be split into three stages: the first two will comprise twenty laps, followed by a twenty-two-lap Stage #3. As such, the segments are split into Laps 1–20, 21–40, and 41–62.
Assuming no overtime attempts, the Pennzoil 150 will span a tad over 151 miles at 151.28. In comparison to the four other road courses on the schedule, Indianapolis will be the shortest in terms of distance. Watkins Glen International is the longest at 201.22 miles, followed by Road America (182.16), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (170), and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (152.76 miles, though the race officially uses kilometers).
The parent NASCAR Cup Series will continue to race on Indianapolis’ oval.