Ganassi warns against more non-US IndyCar races UPDATE Correction: Although Target has offices in 40 countries, they have no stores in China. It's 1700 stores are in the USA. Target Australia is not run by the Target Corporation (all of the stores in the US). The chain in Australia is actually owned by Coles Myer, which has the rights from Target Corporation to use the trademark bull’s-eye logo and Target name. Target Corporation has never operated any stores outside of the United States.
Team owner Chip Ganassi has cast doubt on whether the IndyCar Series should be looking to add more rounds outside the United States in the future.
|Chip Ganassi - When in doubt, follow the money. In Target Ganassi has a domestic sponsor who also has many stores in China and should welcome a more global reach|
"One race offshore is fine, adds a little bit of caché or whatever, but I don't think we want to get three, four, five races outside the country," said Ganassi at a media teleconference just before Christmas. "I'd have to say that's going to start to have a detrimental effect on the series."
Ganassi was talking ahead of the publication of the 2012 calendar, which included as expected a maiden race in China to replace the series' long-time flyaway destination of Motegi in Japan. With two races in Canada and another in Sao Paulo (with a second Brazil race strongly rumored to be under discussion), Ganassi felt that the series had reached its limit.
"Once you get outside of Mexico, US, Canada, I'm not sure I'd be in favor of a lot of races outside that for our series," he said. "The question is, maybe you separate it, if it would start to grow like that, have two separate championships or something like that, and you could choose to participate or not."
Ganassi emphasized that one of the primary factors behind his concerns over long distance flyaway races was the matter of cost.
"We all have vivid in our minds the financial crisis of a few years ago," he explained. "It makes us a little bit more nervous going forward with plans like that. There's so many venues here in the US that I think we can make a success of. It would be a lot easier than travelling halfway around the world."
As well as cost, there is also the matter of TV coverage. This year's Motegi event was held in what was the middle of the night for much of its prime audience in the US and duly attracted negligible ratings, a matter of concern for the series which is struggling to hold onto its fan base in the face of the NASCAR juggernaut. China will have a similar problem, whereas the trip to Sao Paulo keeps to familiar time zones and is less of an issue.
Ganassi made it clear that he wasn't against overseas races as a whole on principle. On the contrary, "I think one or two outside is fine for a little bit of caché," he summarized.