Then folks realized that as a car race, the Brickyard 400 really isn't often all that entertaining. Stock car fans also noticed that once you strip away the history and the mystique, IMS isn't the greatest place to actually watch a car race, with limited sight lines and dated amenities.
The Brickyard 400's attendance slide started several years before the Goodyear tire debacle of 2008, but that farcical event rapidly accelerated the decline. The 250,000-strong sellouts of the early years have been replaced by the jarring visage of an Indianapolis Motor Speedway that is half-filled at best on race day. No event on the Sprint Cup calendar rose to prominence so quickly, nor faded so fast, a development that must surely be of great concern to both IMS and NASCAR.
Changes are underway to make IMS a more fan-friendly venue, and the anticipated construction of a new "apron" inside the four corners is expected to make the track a better match for stock cars in the future. The Brickyard is still considered a top-tier NASCAR race, but there is no denying that the event has lost much of its luster, and it will be interesting to see how the relatively new management regime at the Speedway reacts as they try to reverse the decline.