Before 2011, the Brickyard 400 race was just that—the Brickyard 400. NASCAR made it into an iconic name, its annual trip to Indianapolis’ famous yard of bricks, to go along with the often boring show by stock cars on a track made for open-wheel racing. But for nearly a decade now, the race name has been a mouthful.
When Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the name of the year’s Brickyard 400 race, it gets a collective sigh from people who follow NASCAR. Its name and sponsorship were tame for the first 17 years NASCAR ran it, alternating between the “Brickyard 400” and the “Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.”
Things got all wacky in 2011 and haven’t righted themselves yet, but that could easily be argued as a good thing. Here, take a look at these absurd race names:
- 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by BigMachineRecords.com
- 2012 Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard
- 2013 Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard
- 2014 Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard
- 2015 Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard
- 2016 Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard
- 2017 Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400
- 2018 Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line
But it’s actually a good thing for NASCAR, when you think about it. This race is the Brickyard 400. NASCAR fans will call it the Brickyard 400, announcers will call it the Brickyard 400 and journalists covering will call it the Brickyard 400.
That’s a completely different situation from most other races, which don’t have a standalone name. When someone talks about the Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from earlier this year, they almost have to call it by its sponsored name, the Boyd Gaming 300, because it doesn’t have its own name.
The Brickyard 400 does, meaning sponsors won’t get nearly as much airtime for buying into the name. Nobody would call the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix the Big Company Name Monaco Grand Prix powered by BigCompanyName.com, just like no one will call this year’s Brickyard 400 the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line. It’s amazing the race even sells a name sponsorship.
Sure, most of us probably couldn’t even recite “2018 Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line” if we studied it with notecards for hours. But as long as the car races we’re watching have enough sponsorship money to happen in the first place, that’s a good thing.