Brickyard 400 moving to July 4th weekend in 2020

The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will move to the Fourth of July weekend beginning in 2020, NASCAR officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

The annual race took place in late July or early August over its first 24 years but was moved to early September in 2018. It remains scheduled for Sept. 8 this year but will move to Sunday, July 5, next year.

Officials said the move was part of a revamped schedule for the NASCAR Cup Series.

“There’s no better venue to throw a massive party for our nation’s birthday than the Racing Capital of the World,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said in written comments.

NASCAR and IMS officials moved the Brickyard 400 to September last year in an attempt boost decreasing attendance at the race. The first Brickyard 400 race drew 275,000 fans in 1994 but crowds had dwindled to an estimated 35,000 by 2017.

Fans had long complained about sweltering temperatures at the event, so the change to early September and a beefed up schedule of related events were expected to boost attendance. But three days of rain forced cancellation of most of the festivities last year and delayed the race from Sunday until Monday.

Speedway and NASCAR officials plan to play up the patriotism theme to boost the event in 2020.

“With a regular spike in travel to Indy over the Fourth of July holiday, hosting this nationally televised race will create a monumental weekend for the city,” Visit Indy Senior Vice President Chris Gahl said in written remarks. “From a tourism standpoint, marrying July 4 and an event at the iconic track will dramatically boost visitor spending and amplify the national media buzz coming out of Indy.”