Month of May shortened UPDATE Doing what CART told then they should do 20 years ago, shortening the month of May at Indy is part of the Speedway's overall plan to revive the sport of open-wheel racing in Central Indiana. Over the past year, officials have reduced IMS staffing by about 15 percent, including closing and razing the Brickyard Crossing Inn. More adjustments are coming.
The revamped Indy 500 schedule figures to benefit out-of-town teams the most, saving them at least $10,000 in hotel accommodations alone. But smaller savings will be uncovered as bills are paid.
"We won't be dry-cleaning as many uniforms," said Scott Roembke, general manager of Hilliard, Ohio-based Rahal Letterman Racing. "Maybe that's (a cost of) $3,000 before and $2,000 next year, but it adds up."
Belskus said two large noncore divisions of the company -- likely food-and-beverage and the golf course -- are targeted for outsourcing in 2010. Company aircraft are for sale, too.
Many of the cost-cutting initiatives are the result of a sluggish economy, which includes Allstate not renewing its title sponsorship of NASCAR's Brickyard 400 and a double-digit percentage decline in attendance at Indy's 2009 stock car and motorcycle events. Many NASCAR events had similar declines.
In June, IMS Corp. board members sent a strong message of fiscal responsibility by asking one of their own, Tony George, to vacate several leadership positions within the company. George again declined to comment Tuesday. His family members, who make up the rest of the board, could not be reached.
After describing this period of financial adjustment as "historic," Belskus said there is no concern for the track's future or the resolve of the Hulman-George family that owns it.
"(Things) aren't as bad as they look," Belskus said of the company's financial picture. "We're making the decisions we have to make to be successful and position ourselves for the future, and our future is bright.
"The sky is not falling."
In pushing opening day back to Saturday, May 15, and arranging for Indy cars to practice and/or qualify for nine consecutive days, Speedway officials hope most constituents will benefit from the efficiency. Yet to be determined is the new qualifying format.
Competitors traveling to Indianapolis won't have to spend as much time on the road, and those here can see the momentum of the event building. Despite the compressed schedule, only one day of track activity will be lost from this year's event.
Race week will keep its structure, with Community Day, Carburetion Day and the festival parade setting the stage for the race, which next year will be May 30. A similar schedule was in place from 1998 to 2000.
The pressure on the teams and their drivers will be heightened.
"It puts a huge emphasis on staying sharp and not making mistakes, because there won't be that extra time to recover," driver Graham Rahal said. In part from IndyStar12/15/09 Once again proving that everything it does, it copies from CART/Champ Car proving they had it right after all, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials confirmed today an event schedule that includes a later opening day for next year’s event -- May 15 -- and the return of a single-weekend, two-day qualifying format.
Pole day will be May 22; bump day will be May 23. A similar schedule was in place from 1998-2000.
The race is May 30 at 1 p.m.
Details of track activity won’t be finalized until January, but the first weekend (May 15-16) will have a mixture of rookie testing and open practice. The track then will be available for full practice the rest of week (May 17-21). zzzz
Race week will not change. There will be no track activity Monday or Tuesday. The American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day will be Wednesday with practice for the Firestone Freedom 100 on Thursday. Miller Lite Carb Day will be Friday with the public drivers meeting Saturday.
Sadly, it took the creation of the IRL, and the near complete destruction of IndyCar Racing, to get to where the sport was in 1985. Will it ever get back to the popularity CART enjoyed in the early 90s? Maybe. It was, after all, a 'pyrrhic' victory by the IRL. zzzz
Just as CART suggested, a two-week event schedule for the Indianapolis 500 potentially has opened the door to additional entries for 2010 and beyond and an added IZOD IndyCar Series race in May 2011.
The streamlined schedule, which includes Miller Lite Carb Day on May 28 (final IZOD IndyCar Series practice, Firestone Freedom 100 race, Pit Stop Challenge, Miller Lite Carb Day concert), still offers three weekends of on-track action for spectators. Daily practice is scheduled for May 15-21 from noon-6 p.m. (EDT).
The 500 Mile Race last followed a two-week format in 1998-2000.
"We're pleased with the schedule because it still provides fans plenty of opportunities to enjoy the excitement of a day at the Speedway while being responsive to the needs of our race teams," said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer. "We look forward to another memorable month of May in Indianapolis."
2010 Month of May schedule
Saturday, May 15
Opening Day ceremonies, practice
(Rookie Orientation Program, veterans)
Sunday, May 16
Practice (Rookie Orientation Program, veterans)
Monday, May 17-
Thursday, May 20
Practice (all drivers)
Friday, May 21
Fast Friday practice (all drivers)
Saturday, May 22
Pole Day Qualifying
Sunday, May 23
Bump Day Qualifying
Monday, May 24-
No Track Activity
Tuesday, May 25
Wednesday, May 26
American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day
(No Track Activity)
Thursday, May 27
Firestone Freedom 100 practice, qualifying
Friday, May 28
Miller Lite Carb Day
(Indianapolis 500 final practice, Firestone Freedom 100, Pit Stop Challenge, Miller Lite Carb Day concert)
Saturday, May 29
Public Drivers' Meeting
(No Track Activity)
Sunday, May 30
Indianapolis 500 Mile Race