When it debuted in 2021, the Nashville Grand Prix stood out as one of IndyCar's most chaotic, crash-filled races ever. The narrow street circuit was modified slightly along the original layout to ease the congestion in 2022, but the resulting race was, improbably, an even bigger mess. How big of a mess, you ask? According to an estimate by RACER's Marshall Pruett, repairs from crashes this past weekend cost teams somewhere between $860,000 and $880,000 in damage, including one team reporting repairs that could reach $180,000.
Driver response to the race was not exactly subtle. Series star Pato O'Ward called the event "Crashville" after retiring with gearbox damage caused by a pile-up mid-race, an issue that may have effectively eliminated him from championship contention in an instant. After the race, half the grid seemed to spend their Sunday nights mad at each other online in exchanges that eventually grew to include more reserved drivers like Josef Newgarden and Marcus Ericsson. Most of it was a product of the track, which sits on two sides of a bridge and winds tightly around the areas on either side with little to no room left to maneuver side-by-side.
While the event seems to be a promotional success, its nature as a temporary street circuit makes any track changes complicated. The current three-year deal centered around the bridge comes to an end next year, but the event itself is likely be worth keeping on a more traditional layout like the ones the series runs at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, and Toronto without these sorts of issues. Building something like that around the existing bridge (and nearby Tennessee Titans stadium, a major element of the design) would seemingly require substantial participation from the city and nearby property owners, not to mention new temporary construction.
For now, IndyCar is reportedly putting all of that off until the offseason. With the year's three closing races coming up in a four-week stretch, RACER reports the series will wait until the year is done to discuss any changes to the Nashville GP as we know it.
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