Indianapolis 500 Receives High Marks, Strong Attendance For 101st Running Of The Race
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said attendance for Sunday's Indianapolis 500 was "right at" 300,000 spectators. That figure comes on the heels of the race's first-ever sellout last year, with an estimated 350,000 fans coming to the 100th running of the event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Adam Stern, Staff Writer). AUTOWEEK's Matt Weaver wrote Takuma Sato's victory "capped off a five-year run of great races and amazing finishes" in the DW12 chassis era for IndyCar, which has "conveniently coincided with the centennial celebration" of both the race and IMS. It also has led to the "return of near-sold-out crowds following a decade of steady decline." Even though the 101st running of the race "with its 'NEXT' slogan was supposed to signify the start of a new era, this race really felt like the bookend of the centennial commemoration." Next season will "see the debut of a new spec aerodynamic configuration for the DW12," and it "appears likely that the Indy 500 broadcast situation could be marginally different and the schedule still remains an unknown." The so-called "'butt pods' will be removed from these cars, taking IndyCar back to a more traditional look from previous era." The way the Indy 500 has been run in recent years is the "envy of every racing product in the world." Last year "brought fans back, but the on-track product surely helped retain them." It "wouldn’t be the worst idea if IndyCar maintained its current high-drag configuration for next year and beyond at Indianapolis only" (AUTOWEEK.com, 5/29).
FERNANDO MANIA: In Indianapolis, Gregg Doyel wrote under the header, "Fernando Alonso Won Everything But The Race." Alonso was "roaring his way around the track," but his engine blew with just 21 laps to go. As Alonso’s No. 29 entry "coasted to a stop, the crowd at IMS gave him a standing ovation." He had "won them over, just as he already had won over the drivers, the same ones who didn’t want him to win." Alonso said: "I’m not an American, but I felt really proud to race here" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/29).
LEGEND IN THE MAKING? In Indianapolis, Jim Ayello writes Andretti Autosport Founder & CEO Michael Andretti is "deemed" to "become the next Roger Penske." Andretti won his fifth Indy 500 as an owner on Sunday, which puts him in a "three-way tie for second most all time with Lou Moore and Chip Ganassi." Now he has his "sights set on Penske," who has won the Indy 500 an "astonishing" 16 times as an owner (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/30).