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It's time for a rethink on the month of May at Indy

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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Nothing fills the stands at Indy better than an IndyCar race on the oval
Now that the failed experiment of the new Month of May at Indy is over, let me comment. Sure the Grand Prix of Indianapolis was nice, and the crowd of 50,000 was decent. 

However, because the grandstands were mostly empty, it made IndyCar look like a complete loser both on TV and in photos. It's just as bad as IndyCar racing in front of a vast sea of aluminum at NASCAR tracks.

Americans like winners.  When they see what looks like a loser on TV, they lose interest real fast.

Don't believe me?  When was the last time you bought a loser product?  Would you pay hard earned cash to buy a loser?

I didn't think so.

Then there was the qualifying experiment.  The 2-day format was confusing to all involved, especially the fans, and there weren't a lot of fans either day. Sunday had to be the worst pole day crowd ever in the 98 years of running the 500. 

Get it?  Worst ever!

Experiment failed, time for a rethink.

All the cost to open up the track all those days in May just is not worth it anymore.  Today's IndyCar fans do not give a hoot about any of it.  They just want to see the 500 race on Memorial Day Sunday.

Period.

End of story. 

Yeah, I get tradition.  I have been in racing since the 1960s.  No one gets tradition better than I do.

But this is 2014, a different era, and the paying customers are telling Indy Speedway management, "To hell with tradition.

"We don't have time for it, nor do we care about it anymore.

"Get your head out of the sand and give us what we want.

"We want to see a dam good race and no race is better than Indy Cars on the 2.5-mile Indy oval"

So if a race is what fans want, then let's give them twice the fun.

Time to focus all the energy and manpower of the speedway on two proper condensed race weekends - both holiday weekends - to bookend the summer.

Party weekends.

Traditionally great racing weekends - 3 days off from work to get to the track and back.  Most will make it a 4 or 5 day weekend. 

Family weekends at the race track, camping out, barbequing and watching a race.

Memorial Day Weekend

Wednesday Practice
Thursday Practice, fans arrive in town
Friday Pole Qualifying Tape Delayed on Prime Time TV
Saturday Morning Bump Qualifying
Saturday Afternoon Indy Parade
Sunday Indy '500' Noon on the Oval
Monday Memorial Day - Rain Date and Banquet, fans drive home
Tuesday - Back to work for the fans

Labor Day Weekend

Friday Practice, fans arrive in town
Saturday Qualifying
Sunday Indy '400' on the oval to end the season
Monday Labor Day - Rain Date and Series Championship Banquet, fans drive home.
Tuesday - Back to work for the fans

Oh and by the way, I'm just like you.  It will be a cold day in hell before I spend my money on something that looks like a loser too.

When in doubt, just do what's right.

Mark Cipolloni owns AutoRacing1.com and he can be contacted at MarkC@AutoRacing1.com

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

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