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Ganassi wants “great events,” not tracks for IndyCar

May 10, 2013, 10:37 PM EDT

Indianapolis 500 Getty Images

IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi believes that cultivating strong events is more important for the series’ future than simply visiting new tracks.

“I don’t want to go to great tracks — I want to go to great events,” Ganassi told Indianapolis’ WXIN-TV after he took part in a motorsports business panel discussion this morning at his race shop in the city. The discussion also featured his drivers, Dario Franchitti, Charlie Kimball and Scott Dixon, as well as Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles.

IndyCar has continued to put on some of the best racing anywhere in year two of its current chassis and engine cycle involving the Dallara DW12 and turbocharged powerplants from Chevrolet and Honda. One could also argue that it does indeed have some great events already such as St. Petersburg (Fla.), Long Beach, and, of course, the Indianapolis 500.

However, IndyCar is also still lagging in overall public interest, and in Ganassi’s mind, finding more of the right events is critical in generating needed exposure for the series and hooking the casual fans that will look in on this month’s “500” but not bother to follow the remainder of the championship.

“Anybody that’s close to a sport…All of us that are too close to it, sometimes they say ‘Hey, that was a great race, that was a great game, that was a great basketball game, what a great race,'” he said.

“We have to realize that there are not that many people that are on the inside of these sports. We need to, and all these sports need to appeal to hundreds of thousands of people if they are going to survive and that’s what we need to do.”

  1. icemanpjn - May 10, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    Honestly, I’m not sure what IRL can do to draw in more casuals. The US is stock car country, wherewith fans almost love to hate open-wheel racing. Outside the US, there’s the most-watched motorsport on the planet, F1, to which IRL is like a generic; a poor man’s imitation of F1. The US doesn’t want IRL and the other 220+ nations have no need for it since they have the real thing already in F1.

  2. prov1x - May 11, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Respectfully, a couple of comments.

    First, IRL is gone. It’s IndyCar. Part of the perception problem is that lingering moniker. The name was changed several years ago.

    Second, and with a nod towards the international fan base and technological wizardry of F1….they actually race and pass in IndyCar! The racing blows NASCAR away and I’m a huge fan of both. While F1 is huge overseas, it will always be like soccer in the USA, a niche sport. I wish racing fans would quit dissing IndyCar, now that the Danica circus has moved south the product can shine and hold its own with any racing, anywhere.

  3. purplesectornet - May 11, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    This is what is wrong with IndyCar; the post right above. IndyCar wants to claims its better than both F1 and NASCAR and it just isn’t. IndyCar fans thinks the race craft is better than F1 and it just isn’t. If IndyCar would just develop its own brand and own identity and quit hating on F1 and NASCAR maybe they would recover. The series really has no identity and there isn’t enough effort to restore the 500 to what it once was…so you have a very small nice of people saying “omg are racing is so good and in F1 they don’t even race and pass, and NASCAR us is so boring…etc.”…and it simply is not true. Follow through on the aero kits get some more star drivers and just grow the series…you are NOT better than F1…not even close!

    • indycarseries500 - May 14, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      This is the genius of Bernie Eccelstone at work right here. ” IndyCar fans thinks the race craft is better than F1 and it just isn’t.” so cars that can race close and can set up passes without playdough tires and magic opening wings you can’t use in defense isn’t good race craft?

      ” If IndyCar would just develop its own brand and own identity and quit hating on F1 and NASCAR maybe they would recover.” said while tearing IndyCar down.

      What IndyCar needs is someone who can build it up and create an ambiance of superiority like Bernie and the France family have done with F1 and NASCAR respectively and I can see Bernie has worked it into your mind.

      • purplesectornet - May 16, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        Like I said IndyCar fans are just delusional. Not only is the race craft better in F1 than IndyCar it completely and totally blows it away. You see, F1 cars actually have open wheels…not bumpers and fenders…or whatever you call that mandated stuff at the back of the car…

  4. wallio - May 11, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    The way I’m reading this article, it seems Chip is asking for the “street festivals” KK and the Champ Car boys used to run. Festivals, Chip used to routinely mock. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  5. drylake - May 17, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    To run open wheel cars at 225 mph on oval tracks requires the biggest set of balls in any sport. Yes, the pinnacle is F1, but every open wheel driver who has never raced at an oval either has to be dismissive or secretly intrigued and envious. NASCAR does ovals nearly every week but no one is at risk for serious injury because they’re so well protected by the tanks they drive.

  6. purplesectornet - May 17, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Well you know; all top level racing is dangerous…just ask Felipe Massa…

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