For the first time since 2013, the IndyCar Series will premiere an urban test, something that was so common in the first decade of the 21st century that it ended up being mocked. The city of Nashville will return to the calendar on August 8, 13 years after the last time the category competed in the Nashville Superspeedway, but the renewed proposal of the Music City Grand Prix, on an atypical route in which a long bridge is run back and forth, it has aroused the interest of many personalities and businessmen willing to contribute to its success.
The company promoting the event, 615GP, formed a wide ‘group of owners’, which will have the task of assisting with the logistics, promotional and organizational tasks of the event, and to which names have been added gradually. In recent days, the two best-known and most popular names of this group have been announced, combining the two facets that this Grand Prize intends to combine: the singer Justin Timberlake and the former pilot Dale Earnhardt Jr.
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Nashville is, along with Los Angeles, the nerve center of the American music industry. With 10 Grammy Awards, five top singles on the American charts and 32 million records sold, the figure of Timberlake will contribute to enhance the lineup of concerts and musical events that will surround the weekend, in addition to promoting the race itself to a less conventional audience. All this, in the style of what the Circuit of the Americas has been doing in recent years with the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, or Indianapolis’ own 500 with their Carb Day concerts.
For his part, Most popular NASCAR driver from 2003 to 2017 It seems like an odd choice for an IndyCar event, but it won’t be the first time Dale Jr. has been involved in something related to the single-seater event. In 2019 he was part of the Indy 500 broadcast team, and last year participated in one of the virtual championship events that IndyCar organized during the first wave of the pandemic of COVID-19. Competing against the rest of the real drivers, Earnhardt achieved a fabulous third position at the Michigan oval thanks to strategy, using his extensive experience in virtual racing. Needless to say, in Nashville, where stock cars have always garnered the most attention, their momentum will not go unnoticed.
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The owner group also has two other men who have been in a cockpit; Stanton Barrett, veteran ‘stuntman’ and competitor in more than 200 NASCAR races who also participated in four IndyCar races in 2009, and Justin Marks, who also competed for several years in IMSA and sportscar events in addition to NASCAR. Retired since the end of 2019, Marks has launched this year to line up a team in the NASCAR Cup Series, with Mexico’s Daniel Suárez as the spearhead of Trackhouse Racing.
The rest of the co-owners belong to the business world, including chief executives of contracting companies, distributors and the former head of operations of Delta Airlines, Gil West. The musical section is not neglected here either with the presence of Scott Borcheta, CEO of Big Machine Records, which has a long history of sponsoring and promoting races in both IndyCar and NASCAR. The race will be supported by an Indy Lights event, in addition to various GT competitions.