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Inside CART

Not enough marketing for a really great race
Dan Maldonado
July 25, 2000


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Other's by Dan

This race couldn't have come at a better time for CART. There has been a lot of discussion as to how to make the racing more exciting therefore putting more people in the stands and more people watching on TV. As Autoracing1.com has reported, the overnight ratings for the Michigan 500 were a 3.7. We will see what the actual number will be in the coming days but I think this represents a step in the right direction. That is a step taken without a reduction in power. 

I am one that does not subscribe to the theory that says if the power and speeds are reduced more people will tune in and/or buy tickets. There needs to be a concerted effort on the part of CART, the chassis and engine manufactures, and certainly on the part of the promoters. I believe that the sponsors should step up and try and promote the series. The potential rewards were never more evident by the success of the Chicago Grand Prix. Target and Ganassi really put the word out and Target used their massive marketing strength to really drive home the message. 

I'm not saying that Michigan was empty or the promoters were not pushing. I thought the crowd was pretty healthy. I live in the Detroit area and this year more than others I heard more promotion for this year's race on radio. Of course, there were the usual layouts in the Free Press and Detroit News. However, I was a bit put off by the copy. One ad that I remember in particular featured Kenny Brack and Juan Montoya. The basis of the ad was the 1999 Indy Champion versus the 2000 Indy Champion. 

CART ads cannot be afraid to run on their own merits. Why would they still want to drag Indy and subsequently the IRL into these ads? This is the fastest and most technologically sophisticated open-wheel series in North America. Many major corporations are represented in the way of 100's of millions of sponsorship dollars in this series. The drivers compete on 4 different kinds of courses through out a 20-race season. That fact in itself is a major feat and shows the depth of these drivers. 

This weekend's race at Michigan represents all that is good with CART. The cars are fast, the drivers are professionals, and the fans will come out to see good competitive racing. This discussion is not over. Stay tuned to Autoracing1.com for more on this and other news effecting CART racing. Also, stay tuned for the regular edition of Inside CART…coming soon. 

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