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DATE News (chronologically)
07/12/11
irl
More on Octane eyeing take over of Toronto race  Are the people who promote the Montreal Grand Prix and the Edmonton Indy positioning themselves to take over the Toronto IndyCar Series race as well?

With several members of Octane Motorsports Events sighted at the Toronto Indy on the weekend, including president Francois Dumontier and associates Normand Prieur, Dominique Fauteux and Julie Rioux making a pit stop on their way to Edmonton, there’s growing speculation.

It might be good business for Octane if for no other reason than the 25th annual roar by the shore once again proved to be a wonderful vehicle to promote the Edmonton Indy, which follows it on the schedule every season. Edmonton wouldn’t want to lose Toronto as an appetite wetter.

The Toronto Indy is the annual carnage capital of the series on the bumpy, bumper car narrow walled layout of Exhibition Place.

This year it claimed six of the 26 cars which started the race and resulted in thousands of dollars in damage repairs to other cars headed to Edmonton. Only this time, with a two week-break and plenty of time to take the trips back to the shops in Indianapolis, it’s not a wild and crazy run to get here ready to race.

And this year it had a steady stream of quotes to go with the action, many of which will definitely have at shelf life of at least two weeks.

Will Power accused winner Dario Franchitti of “dirty driving” and called Canada’s Alex Tagliani “a wanker”, just to name two.

This year Toronto had a great race, which isn’t always the case with all those yellow flags, but with fewer than 15,000 grandstand seats and a second straight ‘Free Friday’ promotion, a significant number of those seats empty on Saturday, obviously Toronto was less than a success for a third straight year.

“The only position we have now is dating from several months. If it ever becomes a possibility we would listen,” said Octane spokesman Prieur of Octane taking over the Toronto race, too.

With essentially double the inventory over three days, the Edmonton race is already guaranteed to once again outdraw Toronto. More importantly, it will outdraw the poorly promoted previous race under Northlands, which featured fewer fans in each of their three years of running the race than the first three years in ChampCar, the first of which drew over 200,000 over the three days.

“For sure we have now sold more than last year,” says Prieur.

“It’s going to be a very good Edmonton Indy. The renewal of interest is definitely there. The pulse is good.

“The suites have gone very well. The feeling is the number we had planned for in the suites is going to be full. And we sold out all the motor home spots very early.

“We’re over the two-thirds mark in the number of seats we’ve sold in the grandstands and have been for a couple of weeks now,” he said.

“Tickets have been really strong over the last several weeks and there seems to be a really good Indy buzz building in the city. The number of visitors to our website, the number of hits, are the kind of numbers we have with the Canadian Grand Prix.

“The banners the city has up around the city look good. The airport is decorated. We’re quite satisfied so far, especially considering that the race was canceled and we didn’t get going until January and haven’t really had a long time to be set up with our office and full-time Edmonton staff.”

Traditionally the final two weeks represents by far the largest buying period of tickets for the Edmonton race, something the new promoters aren’t used to with the Grand Prix in Montreal.

“We’re entering two crucial weeks, but we anticipate really good numbers at the box office during these two weeks. The city is doing a real good job creating a buzz and it helps.

We think we have the opportunity to make this a resounding success.” Edmonton Sun

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