Speaking of Andretti Sports Marketing, we did a bit more digging on the New Orleans race and we learned the track owner Laney Chouest, though he is getting a $4.5 million government subsidy to help with track improvement, is very wealthy (the largest employer in New Orleans – ship building) is ready to do whatever it takes to make it into a first class facility.
We hear the suites already in place are top-shelf state-of-the-art and more are going to be added. Grandstands will be built up off the ground so fans have a good view of the circuit.
We hear that the fact New Orleans was not awarded the Super Bowl will help the event as more sponsors money can flow into the race instead of the super bowl.
Although there is no fan parking at the circuit, it is available 1/4-mile away at the adjacent PGA facility. Trams are planned to shuttle fans back and forth.
We spotted people and civic leaders from New Orleans here at Indy checking things out, learning, and taking it all in.
Switching events, we hear an number of efforts have been made to bring an IndyCar race to Calgary, Canada (around the Calgary Stampede) but the problem is the current Mayor who is not keen on racing. The hope is he will move on soon so a renewed effort can be Made. With all the oil companies in Calgary there will be plenty of corporate interest.
Did you know that Champ Car almost raced in Logano Switzerland? Yup when Swiss race car driver Joel Camathias, who was born n Logano, was driving in the series. It was announced at the time that Dale Coyne Racing had agreed a new marketing partnership with the City of Lugano, Switzerland, the home town of his driver Joel Camathias. The agreement was part of a series of plans by Lugano to raise awareness to the region's tourist and business opportunities. obviously, as we learned this weekend, there was more to it.
Did you know that the recently announced Formula E race in Long Beach starting in 2015 cannot be held on the same weekend as the IndyCar race? Why? Because the Formula E weekend must be totally green, no fossil fuel burning engines that weekend. The Long Beach race won't conflict with the Masters Golf Tournament until 2017 or 2018 when Easter Weekend gets in the way.
Getting back to the Indy 500, we hear that Mark Miles and other Speedway Management are expecting a big crowd today of over 200,000. How much over we do not know, but the infield crowd will be huge so 250,000 may be doable. The weatherman certainly has been cooperating the past three days and today is no different. The walkup crowd should be big today.
We hear that Ryan Hunter-Reay had a bad engine for qualifying, hence his 19th place start for the 500, but when they put a new Honda in he was fast again. Mark C. reporting from Indy