NASCAR At Brickyard: Sprint Cup Series Drivers Support Nationwide Race

Later today, a Nationwide Series driver will get to kiss the bricks at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway and add his (or her) name to the list of Brickyard winners.

Is that right? Does the lower-tier NASCAR series running at Indy weaken the track's prestige?

Early indications are that Cup drivers don't seem to think so.

"To me, it doesn't matter," three-time Brickyard 400 winner Jimmie Johnson said. "When I heard, my mind instantly went to how great of an opportunity it is for those series, for the drivers competing and for the winners.

"You have up-and-coming drivers and teams in a tough economy and a tough sport, trying to raise notoriety for themselves. So my mind instantly went to, 'Wow, what an opportunity.' It wasn't, 'It's gonna affect the history of the sport.'"

Kevin Harvick was of a similar mindset and said he was impressed by the atmosphere on Friday, where Grand-Am sports cars raced for the first time. Fans spending their hard-earned dollars "want to have things to do" when they come to the track, Harvick said, and more on-track activity is a plus.

"When I walked into this place yesterday, there was a tremendous amount of energy, it seemed like, from the people walking around," Harvick said. "There was a lot going on."

Harvick also noted the Indy Lights Series races on the oval during Indy 500 weekend, much like Nationwide now does with Cup.

"I think things have changed," he said. "... It's just something that gives the fans more to do and it adds a new element to the weekend."

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