Now that CART and
ALMS have their first successful Miami GP of the Americas
under the belt, it's time to evaluate what can be done to make
it even better. Well for starters, how about a new date
for the race?
Anyone who attended this past weekends races can tell you how unbearable the
heat and humidity was, especially for the drivers in their hot uniforms and
even hotter cars. It's been suggested that perhaps the Miami race be
moved to November and become CART's season finale.
Yanowitch, co-founder of the Miami GP of the Americas,
says late January, or February is perfect weather in Miami
for a race
I don't agree. Peter Yanowitch, an
attorney, and co-founder of the Miami GP of the Americas, and Miami
resident, assures us it's pretty hot in Miami even in October, and November
tends to be wet.
When asked what time of year would be best for
this race, Yanowitch responded, "late January or February, would be the best
time to have this race. I would love for this race to be the CART,
ALMS and Trans-Am season opener every year, the week before the Super Bowl.
It's spectacular here in Miami that time of year, what a great time for a
It should be noted that the Super Bowl is
traditionally the 4th weekend in January. Holding the race the weekend before the Super Bowl
would work, since that is a resting weekend for the Super Bowl contenders..
That idea has a lot of merit. Not only is
the racing world starved for motorsports that time of year, it falls in the
10 week gap between Football season and baseball season, traditionally the
window that produces the highest auto racing TV ratings in the USA.
And that date has some tradition. Before
Homestead was built, the sports car races in Miami (Bicentential Park) were
held in February, right after the Daytona 500, and they were always very
well attended events. However, CART's St. Petersburg race now has the
week after the Daytona 500 date.
Would having two
races in Florida four weeks apart hurt both races.
"Absolutely not," responded Yanowitch. "Our race fans
are pretty much from the Miami Metropolitan area, or
out-of-state. We even get many people from other
countries. Miami is very cosmopolitan. Miami folks
don't even go to Homestead for the races down there, let alone
venture all the way up to St. Petersburg, some 4 or 5 hours
Yanowitch did tell
me that the promoter, Dover Downs, and the City of St.
Petersburg have some sort of agreement with CART that no other
CART race would be held in Florida within a set number of
weeks of the St. Petersburg race. That could be a
potential stumbling block, but it's more an issue of educating
those in St. Pete that each race really has its own unique
Another idea would
be to hold both races on consecutive weekends and sold as a
winter vacation racing extravaganza? Tickets for both
races could be sold as a package. NASCAR holds races on
consecutive weekends in Daytona during race weeks and
vacationers visit Daytona for 10 days to 14 days and take in a
lot of racing. All draw huge crowds.
One would think
that having the St. Pete race so close to the Daytona 500
(only 2 hours apart by car, and one week apart in time) would
have more of an affect on St. Pete than a Miami event in
late-January. Besides, Florida is a big winter vacation
haven. When one group of northerners leaves to return to
their frigid homeland, the next wave comes in the following
It's been stated
on numerous occasions that CART should shift as many races as
possible to early in the season, and end their season much
earlier, say, late September. Once Labor Day rolls
around and football season kicks in, it's hard for any racing
series, sans NASCAR, to get good TV ratings in the USA.
consideration is network TV. CART would like to move
more races to network TV, but it's hard to get available
timeslots in the baseball and football seasons. Network
TV gets CART much better TV ratings for its sponsors, the
lifeblood of any racing series. More TV timeslots are
available early in the season.
Having the first
race of the season also gives CART and ALMS a jumpstart on the
racing headlines. ALMS gets a race before its rival
Grand-Am series garners the Daytona 24-hour race headlines the
following weekend. CART gets a jumpstart on NASCAR, but
more importantly its Indy Car rival, the IRL.
Does CART have
enough warm weather venues to accommodate this schedule shift?
The answer is yes. The early part of CART's schedule can
look something like this:
Miami - 3rd
weekend in January,
week before the Super Bowl
St. Petersburg - 3rd weekend in February, week after Daytona
Monterrey, Mexico - 1st weekend in March
Houston, Texas - 3rd weekend in March
Surfers Paradise - 1st weekend in April
Long Beach, - 2nd weekend in April
Imola or Paul Ricard - last weekend in April
England - First weekend in May
Wash. DC - 3rd weekend in May
And if Brazil ever
comes back on the schedule, that's another early season,
After the Indy 500
on Memorial Day weekend, CART can resume its traditional
summer schedule and
conclude the season in late September in Chicago, or early
October in Mexico City or Fontana. Off-season testing
for the next year would be in November, December, and early
would be shifting their entire schedule ahead in the calendar
year. It doesn't mean any additional days away from home
for team members, but it certainly gives CART more opportunity
to avoid 3 or 4 consecutive race weekends in a row during the
busy summer season.
Let's hope CART
gives this proposal serious consideration.
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