Promoter insists Nashville IndyCar event can survive disruptive stadium build

The existing stadium (background) which is located to drivers’ right of pit straight

Nashville’s promoter is confident that IndyCar’s newest street race can survive the disruption which construction of a new NFL stadium is about to create.

The Tennessee Titans are set to build a new stadium on the site which IndyCar currently uses as the paddock for the Music City Grand Prix, on the opposite side of pit straight to their current home, with construction timelines meaning the 2024 and 2025 events would be affected.

At the very least, the paddock would therefore have to be moved although, given its current location is encircled by Turns 9 back through to 3, changes to the track layout are not beyond the realms of possibility either.

Music City Grand Prix COO Jason Rittenberry is even open to moving the event, potentially somewhere else in the city or even to the Nashville Superspeedway which IndyCar used to race on, but believes that is an unlikely scenario.

However, he is adamant that the race will go ahead in 2024 and 2025.

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“With the assurances we’ve been given from the Mayor’s office and the city, we feel confident we’ll be able to keep this downtown in some way, shape or form, but that’s not to say we haven’t thought about that, yes,” Rittenberry told Indianapolis’ IndyStar newspaper.

“If it absolutely came down to that as a last resort, and the city said there was nowhere else to run this race, yeah we’d consider it, absolutely.

“Is that in our consideration at this point? No, but we’d do that before we didn’t have a race for two years.

“This is all tough to think about, but we’re looking at this as a very, very long-term commitment.

“We’re thinking about a 20-plus-year deal, and if we’re disrupted for two, we feel confident enough in the city, our event and IndyCar’s product that this isn’t going to set us back.

“We think we can offset those two years with other enhancements to the event, and after those, we can come back bigger and better for an event better event for our fans.”

The Korean Veterans Bridge will still be part of the race track although the start and end of the lap on the east side of the river could be altered, and potentially even the west side added to in order to compensate for any snipping required elsewhere.

Already, the Nashville street circuit was tweaked this year for the second Music City GP, including relocation of the restart zone.

Most of the tweaks were made with the intent of enhancing the racing, although it proved similarly chaotic to the inaugural edition, with drivers split as to why that was the case.

However, Scott Dixon, who prevailed in that 80-lapper which featured eight Caution periods, spoke positively about the possibility of extending the loop on the west side of the river.

“I think some changes will come in the future for kind of that [Turns] 4 through 8 section once that construction is done, and they’re talking about even maybe we’ll go up another block and then take a left, which would be great for a passing zone as well,” said the Chip Ganassi Racing pilot, post-race.

“The adjustments that they did this year, especially the transitions on and off the bridge, were huge.

“It was much easier to get into Turn 4 this year. I think you saw a lot of overtaking going into there.”

The 2023 Nashville event will take place on the weekend of Sunday, August 6.

The 2022 track map

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