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IndyCar: The best series too few are watching

You don't race with Will Power. You strap yourself in and feel the Gs. (SarahStierch / Wikimedia Commons)
Expert
30th July, 2015
1

While two successive entertaining Formula One races have reinvigorated grand prix racing, the premier class of open-wheel racing has nothing on its North American cousin in terms of unpredictability and entertainment.

The IndyCar series heads into its final three races of the season with 13 drivers still in championship contention. Thirteen drivers!

Nine different drivers from seven different teams have won a race from 13 races, from the four-car powerhouse Team Penske to the single-car Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing outfit who currently sit first and second in the championship with Juan Pablo Montoya and Graham Rahal respectively.

The competitiveness of this season, in addition to some edge-of-your-seat racing across ovals, street circuits and road courses, has seen a spike in ratings in North America, though IndyCar racing still has a fraction of the audience of NASCAR.

IndyCar has struggled to find a way to regain lost ground on stock cars and other sporting rivals, even finishing its season earlier than most categories in late August to avoid the start of the NFL season.

One reason IndyCar struggles to attract mainstream support on home soil has been the lack of American success in a series often dominated by international drivers.

A recent all-American podium sweep at the Iowa round was the first for the home nation since 2006. Americans have won the series just twice in the last decade, so a championship win for second-generation racer Rahal could trigger a further ratings increase.

There has been a recent boost with the rise of quick young Americans Sage Karam, Josef Newgarden and Charlie Kimball, though it remains to be seen if they can help elevate the status of IndyCar racing in the long-term.

In Australia, Queenslander Will Power’s championship success last season saw some increased interest in IndyCar racing. Though without the series’ visit to the streets of Surfers Paradise, interest has unsurprisingly waned in recent years.

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And with so much more Formula One and V8 Supercars coverage on Fox Sports this year, IndyCar racing has shuffled down the pecking order.

But IndyCar deserves some more attention and viewers in the closing stages of such an exciting season. This weekend the Honda Indy 200 takes place at Mid-Ohio before the ABC Supply 500 at the triangle oval of Pocono Raceway and the season finale GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma road course.

With a mix of events and veterans going up against rising stars in the battle for the championship, the remaining races could show up Formula One in the entertainment stakes.