The deal to bring Indy cars back to
Road America after a near decade-long
absence was the most widely popular
announcement by series management in
years. A key question remained, though:
Would all the enthusiasm translate into
actual race attendance? The answer was
as positive as the spectacle that the
Kohler Grand Prix delivered.
Although he shied away from giving a
specific attendance estimate, Road
America President and General Manager
George Bruggenthies expressed delight
at the turnout, and confirmed that the
Verizon IndyCar Series would return.
“We’ve got a contract for June 25
of 2017,” Bruggenthies confirmed.
“We have a three-year agreement,
so you can count on that.”
The drivers seemed as pleased by the
crowd support as they were about racing
on “America’s National Park of Speed.”
“I walked around the camping grounds
earlier in the weekend – it just amazed
me how many people are here, and how
much fun they are having,” said race
winner Will Power.
“Down the straightaways I was able to
look at the fans on the last two laps and
people were standing and spinning hats
and shirts and that’s what I love to see.”
His Team Penske teammate Juan
Pablo Montoya agreed: “This place is
incredible. It’s just amazing.
“If anyone complains about the racing
we saw today, then they should go watch
horse racing or something.”
Josef Newgarden suffered a broken clavicle
and fractured right wrist in a huge crash at
Texas, but still raced at Road America two
weeks later, finishing eighth. “I wasn’t going
to miss this race for anything,” he said.
Were fans, drivers or management happiest at Road America?
SUNDAY IN THE PARK
SWEATING THE SMALL
STUFF IN TEXAS
Hurry up and wait was the order
of the day at Texas Motor
Speedway’s Firestone 600.
Unprecedented levels of rain in the
Dallas-Fort Worth area led to an
intractable problem with “weepers”
rising up from beneath the track
surface that forced an overnight
postponement. When rain stopped
play yet again after 71 of the
scheduled 248 laps had been
completed on Sunday, a more
drastic move was required.
After mulling over the weather
and complex scheduling issues in
the heart of the racing season,
IndyCar and track president Eddie
Gossage opted to reschedule the
event for Aug. 27, running the
balance of the scheduled distance –
but without Josef Newgarden and
Conor Daly, who were involved in a
heavy crash prior to the stoppage.
The remaining 177 laps of the
race, again set to run on a Saturday
night, will follow a single practice
and an autograph session. All race
tickets from June will be honored
for the makeup date.
“The fans are owed a good show
and we’re going to give them one,”
pledged IndyCar’s president of
operations, Jay Frye.
At Road America, popular
support for IndyCar’s return
followed through into strong
attendance for the race.
Everything’s bigger in Texas...even the
rain delays. A start-stop weekend was
just the beginning of the odyssey for
IndyCar drivers and crews at TMS.
That’s the ticket
“This is proving that we don’t need to be
trying to overthink the destinations we
need to race at,” said Graham Rahal after
seeing the enthusiasm at Road America.
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