Toronto grandstands papered to make it look good

Despite empty seats in the sparse grandstands and long lines at ticket sellers outside the track, race organizers left Toronto pleased with the first race under new management. While it might seem that attendance at the Honda Indy Toronto was disappointing, the organizers stressed that 2009 is only the first in a five-year plan to rebuild the event.

“As far as the on-track product, today, it was fantastic," said Kevin Savoree, managing director of Andretti Green Promotions, which runs the race.

“We accomplished everything we wanted to accomplish with the 2009 event, and we’ve established a very strong foundation and we are going to build on that."

Organizers refused to divulge the attendance, saying it is not their policy. But estimates put attendance at about 15,000 [1/4th of even the worse Champ Car years].

And a glance across the track toward the pit lane during the race showed grandstands with large blocks of empty seats and the general admission was not standing room only. Part of that may have been because fans gave up on buying a ticket after finding the long lines outside the track, where sellers were using calculators and cashboxes.

Before the race, groups of women in event gear were seen handing out free grandstand tickets to people inside the grounds. Globe and Mail

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