IndyCar schedule arguments go around in circles

Who wants Road America on the IndyCar schedule?

"Everybody," right?

IndyCar fans. Road America fans. And drivers, definitely drivers.

Interest from both sides has crested and crashed in waves because of financial realities and other scheduling options. At the moment, Road America is the more eager party and places such as New Orleans rank higher on IndyCar's list.

So, yeah, frustration is a reasonable emotion.

But last weekend should serve as a good reminder of the hows and whys and wherefores of the business of sports. "Everybody" wanted Pocono on the schedule, too.

Yet, one of the biggest storylines from the race — in addition to Juan Pablo Montoya's return to victory lane — was the future of the event.

The return in 2013 of Indy cars to the big triangle in Pennsylvania resort country drew an encouraging 30,000. Sunday's crowd was described in one newspaper account as "generously" estimated at 20,000.

Last-minute sales picked up after Pocono Raceway president Brandon Igdalsky said in an Associated Press story: "The fans begged us to bring it back. Every study and report we did, they all said they'd come….Why aren't they coming out? Where are they?"

The holiday weekend probably was a factor, but there's always some sort of excuse in the summer, whether it's competition from graduation parties, Father's Day and festivals or if it's just too hot. Or rain threatens. Or whatever. Tickets started at $25, so don't blame cost.

Look, I'm not saying the same thing would happen in Wisconsin.

I'm not saying Road America couldn't sell the series. I'm not saying the series shouldn't bring Indy-style cars back to a track where they last raced in 2007. I'm not saying interest would wane after Year 1. I'm not saying a race, whether it stood alone or in conjunction with sports cars, would be anything short of a rousing success for IndyCar, Road America and fans and maybe even the best race in the history of motorsports.

I don't know. No one does.

But what we ought to recognize, and what should be learned from the Pocono experience, is that trying to figure out what "everybody" really wants and what "everybody" really will support and to fit it into a short summer and the complex calendars of an international series and a busy facility is not easy.

Not easy at all.

So if "everybody" gets what "everybody" wants, then "everybody" needs to appreciate it and make it worth "everybody's" time.

"We need to be where the people are," three-time champion Scott Dixon said. "If you can get these start-up races finding the money and getting it done, those are the places we need to be going to.

"In an ultimate scenario, yes, if we could go to Road America and have a packed house, everybody gets what they want." JSOnline.com

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