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Mark Miles talks about the road ahead for IndyCar

Dec 4, 2013, 2:15 PM EDT

Ryan Briscoe AP

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles may have given us an glimpse into IndyCar’s near-future yesterday at the 2013 Motorsports Marketing Forum in Las Vegas.

SportsBusiness Daily’s Josh Carpenter reports several interesting tidbits from Miles during his interview at the Forum, including the revelation of potential new international markets such as the Middle East, South Africa, India and parts of South America.

“There’s enormous opportunity,” Miles said about the subject according to Carpenter. “About a year’s time will tell if I’m right…When we started talking about it, the phones started ringing. I’m going from here to London pursuant to that. And there’s lots of interest now.

“We’ve got to have the right partners, they have to understand the economics and it has to make sense.”

Carpenter also tweeted yesterday that IndyCar’s had “three positive conversations” with potential title sponsors to replace IZOD, who chose in September to end their deal with the series at the conclusion of this past season.

Additionally, Miles said that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is “likely to try” adding an apron to the 2.5-mile oval to help boost the on-track product for its NASCAR events, including the Brickyard 400. IMS is set to receive a substantial amount of money for future upgrades, and it can be assumed that some of the money could go toward the apron project.

Where to start? Well, it’s a good thing for IndyCar that the title sponsorship has attracted at least some interest. On the other hand, you only had to scroll through the Twittersphere last night to see rampant skepticism about Miles’ plan for IndyCar global expansion.

To the observers in that boat, IndyCar’s minimal American presence beyond the Indianapolis 500 should be enough to stop Miles from having pipe dreams of international races and keep him focused on fixing things here at home. Except, apparently, it isn’t.

One figures Miles has at least read up on how the planned 2012 race in Qingdao, China crumbled and is taking extra care to find those “right partners” as he put it. If he can, it could all work out. Until then, he’ll have to deal with the naysayers.

As for the matter of re-installing the apron at IMS, that may be a good move on Miles’ part. The Speedway’s NASCAR events have suffered for various reasons over the years, but out of all of those, the most prominent is that the stock car racing simply isn’t very good there.

It may not completely solve the problem, but if an apron can provide some more instances of on-track passing, then at least we won’t feel like we’re watching a never-ending parade every summer.

  1. manik56 - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Get the check up front and make sure it clears.

  2. midtec2005 - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Make the international events part of the championship… it’s stupid not to. I really don’t even see a reason not to.

  3. Jeff - Dec 4, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    From time to time, I may be down on IndyCar, but it’s provided the most competitive racing across the board. I wish IndyCar well in finding a title sponsor that will help grow the sport, whether it’s inside or outside of motor sports. And yeah, Miles and company should focus on the home market.
    As far as the IMS apron is concerned … “the most prominent is that the stock car racing simply isn’t very good there.” In my opinion, stock car racing is not good any where. Most every time an IndyCar driver makes the jump – Tony Stewart, Sam Hornish, Dario Franchitti – I give NASCAR a try. Plain and simple, NASCAR races bore me to tears.
    If the apron helps, good on IMS. Hope the powers that be keep it for IndyCar too.

  4. indycarseries500 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Good to see the apron come in for NASCAR, hopefully it’ll continue to be off limits for the IndyCars. First off the cars need about half as much downforce and 900 or so bhp to make it an interesting race or else you’ll just have something that looks like the Freedom 100 which is a pretty scary thing to watch. Also if you do bring back the apron crashes will be head on. The cars are rotating a few too many degrees as it is now and not worth the risk in my opinion.

    • leghound69 - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:13 AM

      They got an apron??? You know where to find Happy Harvick,since he wears one at home.

  5. randominternetpunter - Dec 5, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Here’s hoping Mr.Miles pays little or no attention to what you call the “Twittersphere”.
    It’s a world where every opinion,uninformed or otherwise, gets equal traction.

    • leghound69 - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:16 AM

      Sir,as an old traveler of life’s highways I’ll tell you as a fact,The internet is just as reliable & based on facts as the CB radio ever was.You’re right of course,if you can’t see it don’t believe it.

  6. f1fan1 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Onion gum. Until the Hulman-George family divests themselves of the series, they’re going to fail. That’s what has to happen first for the sport to have ANY shot at a real recovery. Once that happens, there is still a very long list of things that need to be done to undue the amount of damage they caused, but it is the most important first step. Sorry to any hulmanista worshippers, it’s just the way it is.

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