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Baltimore Grand Prix - Really?

We’re on our third management team for the Labor Day Grand Prix in Baltimore. The second management group fell apart recently, and the new group has two local managers and Michael Andretti. Andretti Sports Marketing is the latest best bet to get big sponsors for the event. Robin Miller (Robin Miller?) was quoted as saying that if anyone could get sponsors on board and start selling tickets by the middle of June, it’s the Andretti team. I buy Miller’s analysis. If anyone can provide a reasonable, unvarnished assessment of Indycar, it’s Robin Miller. And he’s almost as much fun to listen to as John Force. What do you think? Will there be a Labor Day Grand Prix? A “yes” vote also counts as a yes for the ALMS race on Saturday. If they sell tickets, I’ll buy them. I’ll sell the Indycar race tickets, though. It’s Mrs JT’s birthday.

Well, I’lll always vote “yes” for a race. But it’s easy for me to offer an opinion…I’m not the one that has to do the workk of getting sponsors, promoting, marketing, hiring officials, hiring security, and the 100,000 other chores required.

Sincere best.

It’s especially hard for Andretti Sports Marketing with only one month to find major sponsors before selling tickets. The first group went out of business due to poor management practices (they ran last year’s race and lost a few $million). The first replacement group had an experienced team leader, but still couldn’t find the sponsors and fell apart. And you’e right about all the extra stuff that’s required. It’s amazing how much fences and Jersey wall barriers cost for one weekend.

Being from Minnesota, I’m not sure what you are talking about.

Let’s face facts. The entire Indy Car, Champ Car, American Open Wheel Car, whatever you want to call it, never recovered from the ugly, ego driven split that occurred with CART and IRL. The truly talented drivers that would have logically been the stars and the big draw had they followed the traditional path are all in NASCAR - Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, Casey Mears, Juan Pablo Montoya. In addition several of the top names in Indy Cars (most notable Dario Franchitti) have tried to make it in NASCAR and not been successful. Then there is Danica, who is a marketing persons dream, bailing and heading to NASCAR as well.

Like it or not Indy Car racing has forfeited their premier status and they can’t even sell out the Indy 500 any longer. Even NASCAR is having trouble finding car sponsors, race sponsors and selling tickets and the popularity, and audience of NASCAR is an order of magnitude greater than Indy car racing.

As much as I would love to go see an Indy Car race in Baltimore, I don’t see it happening this year. And if something doesn’t turn around in the Indy Car world, I don’t see the current incarnation of the racing circuit lasting much longer either.

Excellent post, Kcurt.
NASCAR, perhaps way back at its original founding, seem to understand something that F1 never did…it’s entertainment. And big business. They promoted the competitors as stars, created followings for the teams, and created loyal fans, just as other organized sports like baseball do. They also pursued promotional venues like toys; the store toy sections are loaded with NASCAR replicas in all your favorite colors, representing all your favorite drivers. F1 just focused on the racing. NASCAR focused on the entertainment and the business. NASCAR grew a circus. F1 just held races. Circuses are much more fun.

Perhaps it’s because NASCAR is still family owned by the descendants of the founder.

Breaking news!

The new race managers say that their goal is to start selling tickets on 5/28/2012. Major sponsors will be announced between today and the 28th. Things are looking up! Well, for those of us that choose to believe what we read in the Baltimore Sun today. I don’t know any better, and I’ll believe what sounds good to me.