Small Crowd For Pocono IndyCar Race Leaves Series' Future At Track Up In The Air
The Pocono IndyCar 500 at Pocono Raceway yesterday "featured a thin crowd of an estimated 20,000 fans," according to Mike Kuhns of the POCONO RECORD (7/7). In Philadelphia, Bill Fleischman wrote Pocono President & CEO Brandon Igdalsky is "wondering just how committed IndyCar racing fans are" after last year's return to the track for the first time since '89. Expectations were fans who attended last year's race would "return and likely bring more fans." Instead, Igdalsky said ticket sales for yesterday's event were "down quite a bit." Igdalsky: "Fans need to put their money where the mouth is. We don't want IndyCar to go away." Igdalsky said that Pocono officials would decide after the race whether the series "will return next year." Fleischman noted Pocono's contract with IndyCar "is for 3 years, but the track can opt out of the final year." Igdalsky said that he "doesn't believe the problem is that fans are reluctant to travel on Fourth of July weekend." But Fleischman wrote fans who "aren't already in the Poconos might not want to risk encountering traffic delays," and traffic jams after last year's race "might discourage fans from returning for a race on a holiday weekend" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 7/6). Igdalsky addressed the status of next year's race late last week and said, "As of right now, I can't say yes or no. We can get out (of the contract). If we have to, we'll do it. No sense in losing money, especially a significant amount of money." The AP's Dan Gelston noted Igdalsky "blamed the fans -- not a glut of racing in the mountains -- for the possibility of IndyCar leaving the track." Igdalsky: "The big thing is the fans. The fans begged us to bring it back. Every study and report we did, they all said they'd come. But they're not coming in the numbers we need them to come in. Are these fans really here? In Pennsylvania? In the Andrettis' backyard? Why aren't they coming out? Where are they?" (AP, 7/3).