New IndyCar Exec Walker Looks To Win Back Fans; Indy Bump Day A Bore
Incoming IndyCar President of Operations & Competition Derrick Walker knows "many challenges" remain for the racing circuit, and "getting the fans back is the biggest one of all," according to Chris Estrada of NBCSPORTS.com. Walker appeared on NBC Sports Network's coverage of the Indianapolis 500 Bump Day yesterday and said, "There are a number of challenges and I’m not sure if there’s any one ahead of the others, but if I had to pick one, I’d say the biggest challenge we’ve got is to get the fans re-ignited with what we’re doing." Walker said IndyCar officials need to "appeal to a bigger fan base and we’ve got to get some of those fans who have gone off to some other sport or have choices that they didn’t have before and now have them -- they don’t all tune in when we want them, so we’ve got to find a way to connect with the fans." He added, "We’re charged with that responsibility: Get the fans back.” Estrada noted the sport’s off-track headlines "have sometimes had a tendency to overshadow positives achieved on the track." Walker "recognizes that such a situation can’t exist going forward." Walker: "We can’t do it in a vacuum. We’ve got to be all together and we’ve got to get behind a common purpose, a common goal." Walker begins his new job next Monday (NBCSPORTS.com, 5/19).
BUMP DAY LACKS DRAMA, AGAIN: The DETROIT FREE PRESS reports Bump Day "lacked the usual drama, tension and rumors," as all nine drivers who "made attempts on the second and final day of Indy qualifications made it into the 33-car field." It was "no typical second day of qualifying," as the first nine drivers "all qualified on their first attempts, assuring race organizers of a full field." No other driver "even made an attempt" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/20). In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin reports there were no bumping attempts "for the second consecutive year -- and just the third time in modern IMS." The first nine cars qualified "in the first hour, leaving only practice for the rest of the day." That was "fun, to an extent, but the day lacked intrigue" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/20).