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When (NASCAR and Indy) worlds collide | Get the latest car news, car reviews, auto show updates, and racing news from – autoweek.com

When (NASCAR and Indy) worlds collide | Get the latest car news, car reviews, auto show updates, and racing news from – autoweek.com
29 Sep
6:13

The worlds of NASCAR and IndyCar collided Friday night in Charlotte. Well maybe ‘collided’ isn’t the right word, but drivers from the stock world did get a peek into the open-wheel world thanks to a visit from newly crowned, now two-time, IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden.

As a present for winning the title, Newgarden’s boss, Roger Penske, arranged to have his driver take a few laps in an IndyCar racecar that recently saw action at that series’ finale at Laguna Seca, around Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 17-turn, 2.28-mile road course.

“I’m excited,” Newgarden said. “This is like a little bit of candy at the end of the week after a championship. I’ve had about an hour of prep this morning. I’ve never seen this track. I got a little bit of a taste on a desktop computer this morning just to try and figure out where the heck I was going and get my gears sorted out in my head.”

Obviously, the differences between the cars NASCAR and Indy race are vast.  NASCAR racecars have fenders, and of course a roof.

“I have never been in anything that doesn’t have a roof, outside of a go-cart,” said William Byron. “I think that it looks awesome. The biggest thing I think is probably the difference in airflow, obviously, and they don’t really have power steering in those IndyCar’s at least; that’s got to be tough.”

“I think they are obviously completely different animals,” Byron’s teammate Alex Bowman said. “There’s not a whole lot of similarities between the two, other than four tires and a steering wheel.”

But would any NASCAR driver consider jumping over to the IndyCar series? Tony Stewart was successful as was Juan Pablo Montoya and even Kurt Busch ran an Indy 500, one of a few drivers, including Stewart, who ran the Charlotte-Indy double.

Like Stewart and Busch, Martin Truex Jr. is a NASCAR champion, but don’t look for him to double up.

“It’s so far away from what I’ve done my whole career,” Truex Jr. said with a grin.  “I’m not that young, stock cars have suited me well, so I don’t plan on making the jump. Difference-wise, I mean they’re completely different, right? IndyCar is an inch and a half off the ground. It probably was quite a bit less than what our cars do. It has similar horsepower, maybe more and way more downforce. Rear engine – it’s just completely different than a race car. I’m assuming the way you drive it as well. Definitely worlds apart.”

Some younger drivers however may have an interest.

“I’d love to run IndyCar,” Bowman said. “I don’t necessarily know that I’d want to run an oval, but at a road course, it would be a ton of fun.”

“I’d love to race one at some point,” Byron said. “It would be really cool. I’m still young, so I’ll hopefully have an opportunity at some point.” 

And add Newgarden to the list of drivers interested in making a swap; for Newgarden however that swap would work in reverse.

“What I love is the NASCAR guys are interested in us and we are interested in them,” Newgarden said.  “You can tell we are all just racers. I love their cars, and I love theirs. The only thing that would have made me more excited is if I could have gotten into one of their cars today.”

Ryan Blaney, Newgarden’s teammate at Penske is a bit closer the new champion. And he probably has sway over the bosses at Penske; at least enough that it could get him some seat time in an Indy car. That didn’t happen Friday, however.

“I lobbied to try to make a few laps today in that car,” Blaney said. “I got the ‘no’ which is understandable.”

Blaney then put Friday’s exhibition in perspective.

“I think everything is different, every little thing,” he said.  “But at the end of the day it’s racing.”

Source: https://autoweek.com/article/monster-energy-nascar-cup/when-nascar-and-indy-worlds-collide

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