Fontana IndyCar return to be a hit?

Having one major event a year creates plenty of down time for the staff at Auto Club Speedway. It also removes the Fontana track from the sporting landscape for months at a time. Not any more. The track staff still is smiling from the results of last week's social media promotion that resulted in a five-day blitz about the 2012 schedule, and a giveaway of 200 free tickets to NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide races and the return of IndyCar.

Clues were given away three times a day, with the final clue at 11:30 a.m. revealing the site of the day's promotional stop. Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Riverside and Los Angeles were the sites.

"We'll continue to be active, do more of them," said track president Gillian Zucker, who chatted with fans at each site. "We're looking to extend it to Long Beach, Orange County, Palm Springs, Bakersfield. Wherever our fans are.

"There is a renewed interest in the track, much like it was in the beginning. Our schedule next year is the same as when the track first opened (in 1978)."

And if that wasn't enough, Zucker was upbeat at the status of the season-ticket renewals and single-seat sales.

"We're excited about that. It far exceeded what we were expecting," she said. "We haven't seen a demand this early since 2007. There's a lot of enthusiasm about the return of IndyCars. We can see the difference."

Zucker, in fact, said those wishing to get an infield spot next year had better act soon as spaces are dwindling.

"We had a strong response even before we announced the IndyCar date (Sept. 15, 2012)," she said. "There may not be any infield spots left."

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