Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

July 13, 2011

Turning the NASCAR Debacle at Kentucky Into A Positive for Indy Car

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:38 pm

First, follow-up to Monday’s Toronto ‘race’ on barricaded city streets near downtownToronto: Well-known loudmouth Paul Tracy says his Twitter account got hacked (and presumably his online persona on message forums as well) and that allegations leveled against Randy Bernard; e.g., he was seated with Target brass and ordered Race Control to rescind a Princess Dario penalty, are hogwash. If I had to guess I would say a handful of bitter idiot cart enthusiasts still incapable of thinking beyond the third grade are responsible for the typical hooliganism for which they are widely known. What else would anyone expect given their aversion to maturity?  It is my belief that they are more fun to laugh at than allow their pranks to matter.

The inaugural Cup race at Kentucky was a rousing success in terms of ticket sales. Problem was over 20,000 never even got into the gates. Arriving and leaving took some people six hours. Each time. Bruton Smith can be arrogant and boastful, but that nightmare is no way to build loyalty. He should give away double the tickets for the next Cup race to people left out (like IMS did after the Michelin Formula 1 fiasco), then offer discounts to anyone stuck in traffic who can produce a stub. He will never do that, however. It would cut into sales. He won’t even buy blocks of IMS tickets for the Brickyard 400 to give away. Qualifying and practice? Sure…but that is more IMS than SMI.

He is offering freebie replacements to the Indy Car race there later this year. He must figure that will be more manageable. If you figure they would sell 40,000 tickets anyway that still won’t fill up the arena even halfway. BUT, if some of the NASCAR fans are looking for a viable alternative, have open minds, and are not barely literate redneck hilljacks who go out of their way to denigrate Indy Car; e.g., ‘Lee’ on one such redneck forum, we can bump up the total.

My prediction for promotion is that essentially SMI will open the gates on the weekend Indy Cars are there then wave for folks to come on in. Being above any sort of comprehensive event promotion other than Vegas, Indy Car is likely to give ‘em a hearty ‘attaboy’ as their only contribution. Media in Cincinnati, Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, etc., will largely ignore the Indy Car event because they have been brainwashed into the flawed NASCAR = racing mentality, mostly based on their youth and inexperience, and in many cases laziness or fear of being cut off that particular teat. So basically the base will be 40,000 diehards, mostly from central Indiana, if we’re lucky.

If Bruton gives away 50,000 Indy Car race tickets that could mean 90,000 will show, but that is not realistic either. Too many NASCAR folks just waste space on earth like ‘Lee.’ Still, it is not hard to imagine some were so pissed off after the debacle there for Cup that they could swear it off. They will definitely see a better race with Indy Cars. We could probably count on 20% of such free ticket recipients to show up. That’s 10,000 bodies. Optimistic estimate thus far = 50,000.

If just a little promotion is added in the markets mentioned above along with a message that traffic problems for Indy Cars are mild by comparison, you could easily add another 15,000 paid attendees. That would bring the attendance total up to around 65,000. That would fill it up more than halfway and would be considered a rousing success. With Eddie Gossage-style promotion that race could easily draw 80,000 every year.

Sadly, a more likely outcome will be 40,000 or so due to no real promotion. Then the road racing apologists now dominating the series will not so subtly intimate stupid thoughts such as ‘ovals are dead’ and other such counterproductive, mutinous nonsense. I am confident, however, that it will be a great race.

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