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HAS THE BRICKYARD 400 PASSED THE INDY 500 AS IMS' JEWEL?
Published July 31, 1998
NASCAR's Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be televised live Saturday at 1:00pm ET on ABC, and in Indy, Bill Koenig reported that there is "ample evidence" that the "younger [IMS] sibling ... is closing in on the [Indy] 500 as the event -- and as an economic development tool." Hoteliers and ticket brokers say that demand during the Brickyard "rivals" that of the Indy 500. Last year, about 15,000 people showed up at the RCA Dome for a Ford Motor Co. promo featuring NASCAR drivers, and Ford sponsored a similar event Wednesday. Koenig wrote that the Brickyard "is becoming a backdrop for sponsorship announcements and race-related promotions during the second- half of the long NASCAR season." This year, GA-based Realtree Outdoor Products will debut its new line of Dale Earnhardt-licensed clothing at the Brickyard (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 7/30). In Ft. Worth, John Sturbin wrote that NASCAR's Brickyard 400, "aided and abetted by the wrist- slitting rift" between CART and the IRL, "is closing the popularity gap" on the Indy 500 (STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/30). LVIS IS IN THE BUILDING: In Indy, Bill Koenig reports that IMS execs reached agreement Wednesday with ABC to use PVI's L-VIS virtual advertising system. IMS will test the ads of four corporate partners: Miller Brewing, Chevrolet, NAPA and Pennzoil. The sponsors will not pay extra, as the spots are part of their total marketing package. IMS also hired MI-based Joyce Julius & Associates to tape the race to see how much air time each sponsor received via the virtual ads. IMS VP/Sales & Marketing John Newcomb said that "if the test works," virtual ads could be sold for next year's Indy 500 and IRL events (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 7/31). FROM THE BRICKYARD: Indy area ticket scalpers "report far better business" for the Brickyard than for the Indy 500, when many tickets were sold at face value on race day (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/30)....In Indy, Chris O'Malley profiles RCA's ScanTrak, which allows listeners to keep up with track happenings and "listen to the oft-salty conversations between drivers and crews." The suggested retail price for the scanners is $249. O'Malley writes that while Thomson Electronics "won't quantify potential sales for the scanners ... it doesn't take an economist to figure that time is right for such a product" (STAR-NEWS, 7/31).