Grand-Am series continues to grow The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 drew another strong crowd in Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in addition to having record merchandise sales and television ratings.
The live SPEED broadcast of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series EMCO Gears Classic had a ratings increase of 57 percent and 113 percent increase in viewership, boosting the 2009 overall average ratings increase to 24 percent over 2008.
The Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge is also enjoying a greater television audience this season, with a year to date increase of 122 percent. This does not include the telecast of the Mid-Ohio Grand Sport race, which will be aired on June 28 at 12:30pm.
The close competition Grand-Am Road Racing has to offer is part of the reason the series continues to grow. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas came into the EMCO Gears Classic tied for the Championship with SunTrust Racing's Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle. After a margin of victory of 0.491 seconds they are now leading the Daytona Prototype class. Meanwhile, Leh Keen and Dirk Werner started from the rear of the grid to overcome that huge deficit to win the GT class in a race decided with three cars fighting for victory and finishing on the lead lap.
"The fans here are second to none, and this was the biggest crowd I think I've ever seen here for one of our races," said Pruett, who began his open-wheel career driving for Mid-Ohio founder Jim Trueman and lived near the circuit for five years. "You could see them out there, standing up and yelling. Everyone was jumping up and down. For us, as drivers, it makes it awesome."
After the race at Mid-Ohio, the midway point of the Rolex Sports Car Series, all key indicators of the series are up including TV ratings, event attendance, and branded merchandise sales with a reported revenue increase of 41 percent.
"Everyone knows that these are tough times with today's economy, and we are gratified that our growing fan base recognizes the value in Grand-Am Rolex Series racing," said President Roger Edmondson. "Our on-track excitement and fan-friendly activities continue to draw fans to our races, along with viewers to our race broadcasts."
Typical of all of the Grand-Am races, the weekend included a capacity crowd for the autograph sessions, featuring all of the Rolex Series and KONI Challenge drivers, car club festivities, full paddock access and a 30-minute Fan Walk where the pre-race grid was open, free of charge, to all spectators before the Rolex Series event.
The Rolex Series returns to action with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on July 4 featuring the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway. The one-day event will feature practice at 8:30 a.m. and qualifying at 10:45 a.m., with the green flag set to wave shortly after 2 p.m. ET (SPEED, live).
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