It was a joyous weekend of IndyCar…the fastest 500 mile race in history. Pocono is one of those rare big tracks with personality. It is plopped into a scenic locale, is fan friendly and can provide great racing. Only two significant problems existed for my party, and one was not related to anything at the track.
The first problem is aesthetic. A 21 car field is too small for the venue. An Indy 500-sized field is best, and existing or potential teams should be properly incentivized to participate. Eight cars for Lights is a complete joke. Laughable.
The second problem has to do with I-80 East. From the point at which it merges with I-380 to the Delaware River (about 15 miles) it should never take 2 hours to drive. That is the problem with having the race late on a Sunday that is the last day of a long holiday weekend. Perhaps the series and the track should consider an alternate date.
Another general problem was the complete lack of any apparent marketing or coverage of the event. Both the track and IndyCar claimed promotion occurred but none was visible in either Philadelphia or New York coverage areas. Things that DID get plenty of coverage and promotion included a hot dog eating contest and the soap box derby. And NASCAR.
What a waste. The weather was Chamber of Commerce perfect and IndyCar put on a pretty good show. The crowd that looked so promising last year was smaller in 2014 despite strong walkup that clogged ticket windows on race day morning.
Before, during and after the race public proclamations by Brandon Igdalsky and IndyCar indicated both parties want to continue the event. No one has indicated whether the original deal will be honored, extended or modified. The race deserves promotion, a large number of teams and a purse that is commensurate with it being a leg of a ‘triple crown.’ In any event this race deserves a prominent place on the schedule and a primary focus should be making that happen. Just like Iowa, where IndyCar is headed next.
The other interesting piece of news that surfaced over the weekend was announcement by eight NASCAR teams that the owners have formed an organization to ‘have a voice’ in matters that NASCAR negotiates. This script is familiar. Benevolent dictatorships still rub owners, or ‘contractors’ as they are often characterized, the wrong way. All we need now is a plane crash to immobilize the top rung of the NASCAR management ladder, a coup d’état that puts owners in charge, a sport that completely changes, then some nascent France offspring to try and take it back. This does not bode well for peace and harmony and Big Bill is no longer around to enforce his will. Stock up on popcorn because this will be fun to watch.