IndyCar Doubleheader In Toronto Deemed A Success, Evokes Memories Of Past Crowds
An official attendance figure for the two Izod IndyCar Series races in Toronto this weekend was not announced, but the event is "starting to look like the old Toronto crowds back in the '80s and '90s," according to NBC Sports Network's Robin Miller. Fans packed the "grandstands and the standing-room-only" areas around the street course. Savoree Racing Promotions co-Owners Kevin Savoree and Kim Green, the promoters of the event, "really wanted" a doubleheader when former IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard announced the idea last year, and while it is unknown whether the series will continue to hold two races in the same weekend going forward, "these guys want to keep a doubleheader for next year." NBCSN's Leigh Diffey noted Savoree and Green have "increased some of the grandstand sizes, they've included some additional grandstands and they've got a great fan area out in the back" ("Honda Toronto Indy," NBCSN, 7/14). In Toronto, Norris McDonald estimated a crowd of 35,000 gathered at Exhibition Place, and "in a lot of ways, was reminiscent of the glory days of the Molson Indy in the long distant past." The corporate suites "were all full, as were the grandstands, and what was really encouraging was that the general admission areas were packed." Bernard is to "thank for this weekend's huge success." In addition to championing the doubleheader concept, he "made the decision to take the series' Canadian TV contract to Rogers Sportsnet and it was a brilliant move." Sportsnet's "non-stop promotion of this racing weekend" went on for several months. Television commercials "were played daily" and Rogers radio stations "talked up the race almost non-stop." McDonald: "The Rogers push on radio and TV was in large part responsible for making this weekend's races a huge success" (THESTAR.com, 7/14).
DIXON PLEASED WITH FAN TURNOUT: In Toronto, Mike Zeisberger reports the IndyCar garage "feels the Toronto race once again is becoming one of the marquee events in the series." Driver Scott Dixon, who won both races over the weekend, said, "The bleachers were full. Even on the back straight in the trees, there was a ton of people sitting on the grass. I hadn't seen that for a long time. It really has come back. It seems to be as popular as it ever was. I really think that the crowds this weekend, whether it was due to the weather being so nice, most of the stands were packed. There were people everywhere" (TORONTO SUN, 7/15).