NASCAR targets Canadian race fans

After watching its Canadian audience increase rapidly over the past two NASCAR seasons, Michigan International Speedway will be bringing its mobile ticket office to events on this side of the border.

Organizers will visit RV shows in Windsor, Hamilton and Kitchener, Ont., and have already set up shop at the show in Toronto.

“I think there was this misnomer that all Canadians were F1 fans," speedway president Roger Curtis said. “When the Nationwide Series went to Montreal, we learned that they were just race fans. They like watching good racing of any kind.

“Now that they’ve been exposed to NASCAR, they’re very excited by it. That’s why I think after two years (of a NASCAR presence) in Montreal, the timing for us to do something and start advertising in Canada is really good. There’s already a lot of pent-up desire in Canada, so hopefully, we can tap into that and make a good case for coming to (Michigan International Speedway)."

In the past two years, Canadian ticket purchasers at Michigan International Speedway events increased from 2.93 per cent in 2007 to 3.97 per cent.

Last season alone, while overall Sprint Cup attendance grew by just one-quarter of a per cent, Canadian attendance at Michigan grew by nine per cent, even though the track did little to directly promote itself in Ontario.

“In the last two years, it had gone from 2-3 per cent range (growth) to nearly 10 per cent," Curtis said. “It had that organic growth without us doing anything and we thought, ‘It’s really time we started doing some advertising over there. Let’s do some grassroots stuff over there.’ We had done a couple of things with CASCAR, but very minor compared to what we’re doing this year. This is a major push."

The track in Brooklyn, Mich., will host races June 14 and Aug. 16. Windsor Star

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