Attendance for the weekend’s MotoGP event was a mixed bag for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Attendance for Sunday’s main event was 64,151, a slight improvement from last year’s 62,749, according to MotoGP officials.
But the three-day total going through the turnstiles at the Speedway was 134,766, the lowest of the event’s four-year stint in Indianapolis.
A total of 136,184 spectators attended all three days of action at the Speedway in 2010.
Motorsports business experts predicted that ideal weather for the three-day event could boost attendance 15 percent, but sunny skies and moderate temperatures didn't do the trick.
Officials say the hurricane battering the East Coast probably had an impact. Dozens of flights to and from Indianapolis were called off over the weekend. The cancellation of a motorcycle race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds also may have hurt attendance. That race drew about 9,000 spectators last year.
In 2009, attendance was 75,130 for Sunday's race and 146,680 for the entire event. The three-day total for the first event in 2008 set the high-water mark at 170,000, according to MotoGP officials.
IMS officials are still in negotiations with MotoGP to host the race next year. Speedway spokesman Doug Boles said an announcement will be made—one way or the other—in September.
“We’d certainly like to have it again,” Boles said. “We definitely think there’s a place for motorcycle racing at the Speedway.”
Speedway officials said they like the MotoGP race because it draws a different audience from the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400. If they can’t sign a deal with MotoGP, they said they will consider hosting a motorcycle race sanctioned by another series.
IMS President Jeff Belskus said there are some issues with the MotoGP race’s date in 2012. MotoGP officials, Belskus said, want the dates of the races at Indianapolis and Laguna Seca in California closer together so the teams can stay in the United States for the two races.
That might mean moving the Indianapolis race to early August, which could be difficult on the heels of the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race, which this year was held July 29.
Another complication: MotoGP has a 10-year contract to compete at the new Formula One track in Austin, Texas. The first race will be held there in 2013, though no dates have been announced.