Below, is an IndyCar News and Notes from AutoRacing1.com Columnist Brian Carroccio.
It was encouraging to read AR1 President Mark Cipolloni’s article last night about the conversation he had with Hulman & Co., CEO Mark Miles. Miles indicated that IndyCar’s plans to add points-paying overseas races in 2015 were coming along. Also, Mark C made the excellent point that “with F1 costs spiraling out of control," there is opportunity for IndyCar to meet demand in parts of the world dying for top-level formula racing.
Still, I remain concerned about the sustainability of these events. For example, if IndyCar races in say, the Middle East, will they be able to sustain an event for more than 2-3 years? Or is a race in the Middle East simply a short-term “cash grab" with no coherent strategy to build a long-term, sustained event? Because an event that lasts only two-three years may provide revenue for the series, but in the long run damages the IndyCar brand and furthers the fallacy that IndyCar is destined to fail overseas.
So, to be clear, I am for IndyCar pursuing growth in the global arena. I simply fear that some of the sport’s prior mistakes have not been fully understood, and thus, will be repeated.
We shall see.
IndyCar blew a golden opportunity this week to create buzz and/or at the very least generate some media coverage outside the usual I-465 crowd. With nearly 30 drivers in town for physicals, meetings, and such, IndyCar could have set up media events, fan festivities, organized promotional events with local television and radio, etc.
Instead, the only coverage generated came from a thrown together at the last minute press conference in the IMS Museum Tuesday with the series’ four active Indianapolis 500 winners Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, and Helio Castroneves.
Granted, I know USA Today and the New York Times aren’t ready to storm the 16th and Georgetown offices begging for hard cards. I also know Central Indiana has been snowed in much of the month. Whatever the case, sending out the media advisory less than 24 hours before the presser assured it would be just another Q and A session with the usual I-465 crowd.
In Comparison to IndyCar’s Lack of Media Coverage….
Consider the amount of publicity and media mileage Formula 1 generated this off-season from the whole switch to permanent numbers. I mean, dare I say, they are just numbers.
Although Someone in IndyCar Knows How to Generate Market…
Although, the live stream had some technical difficulties, Michael Andretti once again showed why he is this era’s best IndyCar team owner, with Monday’s Andretti Autopsort’s team launch.
Kudos also to Andretti for partnering with two new sponsors, United Fiber and Data and Cinsay, who have already been active in engaging fans on social media, and getting the word out to their constituents about IndyCar.
I hope other teams have taken notice.
Back to Michael Briefly
I’m going to assume readers are familiar with Michael Andretti’s outstanding career as a driver. I’d go so far as to make the argument, he’s an even better team owner.