|Mark Miles – What's next for the Speedway? Perhaps Swamp Buggy Racing – anything to dilute the IndyCar product further. Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Grand-Am, and MotoGP, so why not swamp buggy racing?|
If Mark Miles has an issue with anything that happened last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it's that not enough happened.
Oh, pole day was interesting, he said. Carb Day was terrific and the rest of the Indianapolis 500 weekend was certainly memorable.
But the rest of the month was lacking, he said, and his opinion counts the most these days.
Miles is the first-year CEO of Hulman & Co., which owns IMS, IndyCar and other Indiana-based holdings. Most of last month's 500-related action unfolded right outside his corner office overlooking the Turn 1 grandstand, and he longed for more.
"I think we were open for 17 days and there were a lot of them where this was a fun place to be," he said. "But we don't have nearly enough entertainment content for people."
Evidence of that is in the attendance. Crowds estimated at 75,000 for Carb Day and a quarter of a million for race day were the exceptions for the month. On the other practice days, crowds generally looked more like a modest assortment of friends and family, plus IMS workers and competitors.
That inactivity got Miles moving. He sent an email to every company employee asking for recommendations. He expects most responses to center on improving current elements, but his goal is to "invigorate" May.
"To almost re-imagine it," he said.
Maybe that will come through use of the road course, either with an IndyCar race or a historic car event.
Likely there will be another Carb Day-like program with big-name bands.
Maybe it's something else.
"People have ideas about marketing more deliberately to different demographic groups, develop content that will make it more attractive to come out here," Miles said. "We'll think about whether there's a role for the road course in May; that's a question to be answered. Maybe there's other racing that can come here during the month."
IMS management is building a wish list of items that could come as a result of the recently approved state funding soon to become available. Many of those items are technology based, including new video boards. Lights also will be considered. USA Today