INDYCAR: Track, series exult in Road America turnout

INDYCAR: Track, series exult in Road America turnout


INDYCAR: Track, series exult in Road America turnout


Although he shied away from giving a specific attendance estimate, Road America President and General Manager George Bruggenthies expressed delight at the turnout for the Kohler Grand Prix weekend, and confirmed that he was already looking ahead to a return engagement by the Verizon IndyCar Series next year. 

“I think it’s really happened wonderfully considering the weather this morning,” Bruggenthies said, alluding to rain that made Sunday’s IndyCar warm-up session a virtual washout, before clearing prior to race time. “The crowds really came out. I have to congratulate the Road America staff and the whole team that does all the operations here. They worked very hard preparing. I think we delivered. The crowd came out and they had a great time.

“We’ve got a contract for June 25 of 2017, so that’s really exciting to announce that right now. We have a three-year agreement, so you can count on that, and if everything continues positively, we’ll extend that. We’d like to. The fans love the series. They put on a great race. I think that was demonstrated. So it’s something we would like to keep here, certainly.

“I talked to a couple of my board of directors, and this is likely the largest event ever hosted by Road America, so that’s really something. I really can’t [estimate] because there’s so many variables. It’ll take me a couple of days to figure out a number.

When it was pointed out that NASCAR estimated 50,000 in attendance for its first race weekend at the track, Bruggenthies responded: “I think it looked like 50,000 today…”

The IndyCar racers generally seemed as delighted with the crowd support as they were about as returning to such a popular driver’s circuit.

“I walked around the camping grounds earlier in the weekend – it just amazed me how many people are here, and how much fun they are having,” said race winner Will Power. “Just walking in here on Thursday, you could see the place was really popping. I am just so stoked to be back here. We should have been back here a long time ago.

“Down the straightaways I was able to look at the fans on the last two laps and people were standing and spinning hats and shirts and that’s what I love to see. I hope (the fans) enjoyed it as much as I did and they come back because we’ll make it even better next year.”

Teammate Juan Pablo Montoya agreed: “This place is incredible. It’s just amazing. If anyone complains about the racing today, then they should go watch horse racing or something.”

Asked whether there was any cooperation in promotion of the event between Road America and public entitities like the tourism board of Wisconsin, Bruggenthies said, “No, no, just our partners. [Tiitle sponsor] Kohler stepped up, and that certainly helped control some of the risk. Again, I’m just a businessman – but the business looked pretty good today.”


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