OFF TO THE RACES: WERE EMPTY SEATS SPOTTED AT INDY 500?
Memorial Day weekend's racing schedule saw the 82nd
running of the Indy 500 on Sunday, the CART Motorola 300 on
Saturday and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night. In
Indy, Robin Miller wrote that for the "first time in my 35
years at IMS, empty seats were noticeable on race day."
While IMS, in traditional fashion, gave no attendance
figure, Miller puts his "unofficial estimate" at around
290,000, down from the usual 330,000 to 350,000. Miller
added that while it is "still the largest gathering in
motorsports," interest in the Indy 500 "continues to
decline" (STAR-NEWS, 5/25). In Cincinnati, Tom Groeschen
wrote that Indy "still can claim to be the largest one-day
sporting event in America" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/26).
AT GATEWAY: In St. Louis, Christopher Carey reports
that racing teams and fans who came to Saturday's Motorola
300 at Gateway Int'l Raceway spent "about" $6.7M at hotels,
restaurants and other businesses in the area. The total
impact of the race, including the "multiplier effect," will
bring $16.9M to the local economy over three days, a 12.7%
increase over last year's race. Saturday's attendance was
around 60,000 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/24).