IndyCar has enjoyed a recent run of race weekends where the excitement on the track has been reinforced by considerable promotional energy off it.
Sponsor Hy-Vee’s efforts around the Iowa doubleheader brought the sort of vibe usually reserved for street circuits to an Iowan cornfield, which was followed by an actual street race in Nashville and then into this weekend’s round at World Wide Technology Raceway, which is expecting healthy crowds off the back of the efforts of the track GM Chris Blair and his team, and sponsor Bommarito. The payoff has not gone unnoticed by those in the paddock.
“I think it provides a template for others,” said Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi. “It’s a case study, right? It shows what is possible. Most things in life require capital and investment to grow. I don’t think an IndyCar event is any different.
“We obviously have a huge amount of support and gratitude to our current and existing promoters for what they do. We wouldn’t have a championship without them. However, we all want to see this series grow, see it continue to evolve and invite a new fan base in, introduce them to our sport. That requires, like I said, time and money to do that. We have a template for what has been successful. Hopefully it’s a roadmap for other promoters going forward.”
Rossi’s sentiments were echoed by Team Penske’s Will Power.
“When you look at Iowa, you look at Nashville, even Barber, we’ve got some great promoters now,” he said. “I think that should absolutely be the standard. The tracks have to look a certain way, be promoted really well, have money behind them. That should be the standard.”
Teammate Josef Newgarden said that while he gives little attention to any race weekend activities that don’t involve him sitting in an IndyCar, he also recognizes that the series’ recent successes reinforce the benefits of putting fans first.
“I care about the racing more than anything,” he said. “If I’m a visitor, if I’m a fan, I want to have an event much more than just the race. I think you’re getting that a lot more at these venues. Nashville provides that. Iowa has become now a destination — which is probably the one you thought wouldn’t be, is Newton, Iowa, and they’ve made it that. It’s possible anywhere.”