After years of failed attempts to make it happen, IndyCar confirmed on Wednesday, September 16 that it would definitely be heading to Nashville for a street race in early August of 2021. While the track layout has received some criticism—mainly because it careens over a bridge—we thought it would be best if everyone got a look at the proposed track layout in person. Or, as close as you can get to in person.
The Retro Rebel on Twitter did most of the heavy lifting here. She toured around much of the track layout on Google Maps street view so fans unfamiliar with the area could get a sense of what the track will look like in its native format.
Several other Twitter users have pointed out that the track passes through some rather unsavory parts of Nashville. Part of the course looks to pass through active construction sites and otherwise abandoned shops.
Other folks, like Jalopnik contributor Bozi Tatarevic, had a more positive view of the track—mainly when it comes to the final turn complex.
There’s definitely room for skepticism, as there always is ahead of a newly announced street race. But the city of Nashville seems to be taking the project seriously, which suggests that some of the less appealing elements of the track will be sorted out before the event itself. One the barriers and fences go up, the views will be significantly different.
And, as is generally the case with street circuits, the whole track is not accessible to fans. There will be specific viewing zones that will likely avoid some of the more unsavory elements of the event.
The event is being marketed as more of an all-encompassing festival as opposed to solely a race. As the name of the race suggests, there’s going to be an emphasis on music via several concerts. There’s also a push to bring in a lot of local food. It’s intended to be Nashville encapsulated.
As an IndyCar fan, I’m in two minds about the track. On one hand, I freaking love street circuits. I’ve been to every other street circuit on the calendar—St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Detroit, and Toronto—and had a blast. It’s nice to be within walking distance of a race track, and it opens up a lot of opportunities for tourism outside of the confines of the track. Even the more sketchily located tracks (I’m looking at you, Detroit) are generally well-regulated and feel safe. I’m also stoked about the very long over-the-bridge straight.
At the same time, the bridge situation is definitely dangerous, and some parts of me are wondering why, after years of planning, The Powers That Be decided on this layout.
Whatever the case, I’m cautiously optimistic.