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Report: Following in NASCAR’s Footsteps, IndyCar Announces $1 Million to Win Thermal Club Exhibition

Published 09/11/2023, 5:06 PM EDT

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The NASCAR All-Star race is an exhibition event that has been put up across America since 1985—a 100-lap race with prize money of 1 million dollars. The participants of this race include, but are not limited to, winners from the prior season and the beginning of the ongoing season. A diverse and interesting group of renowned drivers coming together to race each other, the All-Star race is a hugely awaited spectacle every year.

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With IndyCar’s latest announcement involving the Thermal Club resort in California, it appears NASCAR has got another promotion following in its footsteps.

IndyCar announces its first non-championship race in over a decade


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Drawing inspiration from NASCAR’s All-Star race, IndyCar has announced that it will be putting on a “made for TV” race that will be held at the Thermal Club resort in Palm Springs. In its first attempt at an All-Star race since 1992, it has announced a prize of USD 1 million for the winner—the exact same amount that NASCAR offers. While points for the championship will not be at stake, the million-dollar award is certain to attract IndyCar racers. Sports Business Journal reporter Adam Stern shared the news from the series on his “X” handle.

As has been announced, the event will begin with a draw party that will sort members of The Thermal Club with each team and driver. The scheduled race weekend will include a qualifying session and two heat races in addition to the main race. The top layer from each of the heat races will head to the All-Star race on March 24. The teams that finish top 5 will split their prizes with club members.


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As reported by INDYCAR, Mark Miles, the CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp., made the announcement, saying, “It’s going to be a made-for-TV event that I think should be very interesting and get people who normally wouldn’t be watching us to watch us race at a different place.” This event provides IndyCar with a race to fill the extended gap in its schedule, which typically occurs between the season opener in early March, and the resumption of the series about a month later.

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Going to The Thermal Club, how closely will IndyCar follow NASCAR?


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IndyCar’s exhibition race is set for 24 March. Despite the upcoming season’s schedule not being out yet, if we are to go by tradition, the season opener will be scheduled on March 10th. This means that the race will be an in-season one rather than a pre-season event, similar to how NASCAR schedules its All-Star race every year.

Despite the similarities, the events of the two promotions have their differences as well. And, it only begins with the involvement of the private resort, The Thermal Club. Situated in the Coachella Valley in California, The Thermal Club is a country club founded by entrepreneur Tim Rogers. The 490-acre development holds 4 asphalt tracks within its compounds.

NASCAR’s All-Star race has traditionally been held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. However, over the past four years, it has seen three new venues, including Bristol Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. In its latest edition, it was held at North Wilkesboro, where Kyle Larson took the million-dollar prize. While it is too early to say if IndyCar plans to keep this a continual affair, its maiden effort at the resort will have only the club members as in-person spectators. As Mark Miles had mentioned, it is going to be a “made for TV” event. The split of prize money with members outside the team is also something that is not followed on the grounds of NASCAR.


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Expressing his excitement for hosting a race at the venue, Mark said, “This world-class venue just down the road from the world’s premier entertainment market is the perfect place to bring our hyper-competitive racing and growing star power.” With more details yet to be unveiled from the series about the race, it has been announced that the event at the 17-turn, 3.067-mile circuit “will receive a network broadcast showcase on NBC.”

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Written by:

Gowtham Ramalingam


One take at a time

Gowtham Ramalingam is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. His love for motorsports stems from his fascination with Formula 1. Possessing an obsession for anything with an engine, the roads eventually led him to the raw grounds of NASCAR and he has been an avid fan of the sport ever since.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal