New Speedway president asked to 'save our track'

July 10, 2013
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Shortly after news broke Tuesday that Doug Boles was promoted from chief operating officer to president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one commenter on IBJ.com pleaded: “Good luck Doug. Save our track!”

Wow! Does the Indianapolis Motor Speedway really need saving? Perhaps.

One thing is certain. The famed Brickyard is at a critical crossroads.

It may still host the Greatest Spectacle in Racing—the Indianapolis 500—but many race fans have told me it’s no longer a venue worthy of such an event. They say it’s not anywhere close. And now it’s up to Boles—and his boss, Mark Miles—to do something about it.

Race fans complain the Speedway is a “turn-off” that is hurting attendance at the IMS’ cash-cow event, the Indy 500 in May.

Racing insiders also tell me the vaunted Speedway, despite its history and gargantuan size, is second-tier compared with the soon-to-be-renovated Daytona International Speedway and the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, which hosts a major Formula One race, among others.

Although the Indiana General Assembly this year voted to give the Speedway a $100 million tax break over 20 years for needed repairs and upgrades, some think it won’t be nearly enough. The IMS has agreed to kick in another $40 million over the same period, but that total still pales in comparison to the $400 million Daytona International Speedway is pouring into its facility.

Boles clearly must first prioritize how to spend the money he has at his disposal to make needed upgrades to maximize attendance at the venue’s three major events. Then he must find ways to raise more capital to bring the 1,025-acre facility into the modern era. That might mean some serious breaks with tradition, with Speedway officials acknowledging they must consider things like selling naming rights to the Indy 500 and the Speedway itself.

One normally very supportive commenter on IBJ.com caught me off guard Tuesday when he said, “The track is starting to blend in with the ghettos that now surround it on almost three sides.”

I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it’s certainly not good.

The commenter, who calls himself Disciple of IndyCar, noted that he’d been visiting the IMS since 1959 and is appalled by potholes in the museum parking lot, cracked and crumbling sidewalks, and pipes leaking raw sewage in rest rooms. He even noted that many of the grassy areas this year were uncut and unkempt.

“If it’s Boles’ [responsibility to stop such deterioration], he has his work cut out for him,” the commenter noted. “IMS has fallen well behind most other big-time tracks in terms of amenities and access and that situation must be corrected now.”

Remember, the comment came from someone normally rather supportive of the Speedway and its initiatives.

Boles’ predecessor as IMS president, Jeff Belskus, was great at tightening the belt on the operation. Now, the insiders say, some smart spending is in order.

IMS officials have identified three immediate needs: improved disability access, video monitors within the track, and possibly lights. Night racing could begin as early as 2014, but 2015 is more likely, Speedway officials said.

Racing fans and sponsors offer a much longer list of needed improvements, including better entrances and exits; more comfortable seats; improved viewing platforms; upgraded rest rooms, concession stands and hospitality areas; an expanded and improved museum; and more interactive fan activities.

“They have to do something,” said Paul Henry, a 58-year-old Indianapolis resident who’s been to every Indianapolis 500 since 1968. “The facility is dated and it has become a turn-off. There are not a lot of attractions for what I’d call the casual race fans.”

Bloomington resident and longtime race fan Jeffrey Henderson, 46, called the track’s amenities rudimentary.

“What opened my eyes was the new track in Austin,” said Henderson, the principal at Bloomington North High School. “A state-of-the-art facility like that shines a light on just how much work needs to be done at the [IMS].”

The Speedway’s corporate constituents were crueler in their appraisal.

One racing industry executive called the IMS’ condition “horrendous.” An executive with one of the IndyCar Series’ corporate partners said that on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the best sports facility, “the Speedway would get a three.”

“The luster is gone from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said former race car driver Derek Daly, who now serves as a racing analyst for WISH-TV Channel 8. “It creates an unattractive sports platform for commercial sponsors to get involved. The problems will take years to fix. The sooner they get started the better.”

Boles, a 46-year-old with experience as a team owner and manager, motorsports marketer and lawyer to various race organizations, knows his problems don’t end with the infrastructure.

Brickyard 400 attendance has been in serious decline in recent years and the MotoGP motorcycle race may be on life support.

Boles must focus on drawing more fans to see NASCAR’s Sprint Cup headliner in July but also integrate the Nationwide Series the IMS wrestled away from Lucas Oil Raceway along with sports car events held the same weekend to make the Brickyard 400 extravaganza bigger and more lucrative.

Belskus always said the NASCAR and MotoGP races were profitable, but clearly the Brickyard 400 isn’t nearly as profitable as it once was—when it was capable of generously subsidizing the IndyCar Series—and more than one source has said the margins on the motorcycle race are perilously thin. Outreach to motorcycle groups has to be improved and an event like Motorcycles on Meridian has to be expanded and converted to race ticket sales.

Miles, CEO of Speedway parent Hulman & Co., understands well the gravity of the crossroads his company faces.

From the very first in-depth interview I had with Miles after he was hired as Hulman & Co. boss late last year, he stressed the need for facility upgrades at the IMS.

“If you think of any major successful professional event or high-level collegiate event, the facility has a lot to do with the vitality of the event aesthetically and for the fan experience and economically,” Miles said.

He knows the ability of that facility to raise big piles of cash is paramount to the success of his company. That’s why Miles knows there’s a lot riding on Boles’ promotion.

If it backfires, Miles knows the massive operation could well go up in smoke.

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  • IMS is Still #1
    Despite this article's doom and gloom about the Indy 500, the NASCAR races are still at a lower tier. The metrics are all there to see, as so many empty seats even at NASCAR's Prize Daytona and even with a capacity which is well short of IMS. Relative to Austin, they have not run their first F-1, and their ability to be at the whim of F-1 still makes them a very iffy proposition.
  • More Than Capable
    I know Doug Boles and am very confident that with his reputation, integrity and ability he will be able to do great things at IMS. Great decision Mr. Miles.
  • Remember Tony George?
    Significant improvements to the facility, while not nearly enough, were made while Tony George was in charge. While he had his faults, at least he recognized the need to keep improving the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I do not object to the recent announced 15% price increase, the IMS needs to be certain that the increased revenue is dedicated to making significant upgrades to the entire Speedway. A drive by 16th and Georgetown road feels and looks the same as it did 40 years ago, except for the nice facilities for management and their staff. That, this writer thinks, tells the whole story
  • Austin HAS hosted an F1 race
    Hey Mike, the Austin Circuit of Americas track did indeed host their first F1 race in November, 2012 to rave reviews by teams, racers and fans. COA is state of the art in every way - which it should be considering it cost $400+ million to build.
    • IMS Solution: Engagement...
      The issues associated with the Speedway are easy to understand if you're a automotive enthusiast. And, it seems the Speedway is managed by very few. The greatness of a race track is not measured in comfy seats and fancy restroom facilities... instead it is measured by the fan's “relationship” with the track itself. Three great examples. Laguna Seca, Road America and Montreal. They are *dumpy* by today’s modern track standards, yet are loved by fans for their history and physical immersion in the actual track experience. Each of these three tracks have a great history… AND… you can access the track, garage, cars and about anything else. For years, you’ve been able to do driving schools, participate in car club track days, and go out and watch different events almost every weekend. But, not at the IMS. As a result, fans have a meaningful relationship with those facilities, and they have effectively no relationship with IMS. The Speedway seems to have forgotten its past as a testing venue for automotive manufactures and a center for racing innovation… and relied too heavily on gimmicks (read: carb day Poison concern) that are *crowd pleasers*, but don’t build any meaningful equity in the track itself (ie Poison is playing Friday at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino. Who cares?). The solution is easy, and they already have 100 years of history to start with: Engage with automotive enthusiasts, and there will be massive support for IMS and the events it hosts. Regards, JL
    • Austin F-1
      My bad in missing the F-1 "splash" in Austin, but likely most of the U.S. race fans missed it also. F-1 is still non-competitive racing, and while I have made 50+ Indy 500's, I never fell asleep at the Indy track until I saw the F-1 there (true story). F-1 is all pomp and circumstance and big Euro $ sponsors, but racing is hardly little more than follow the leader. And I see they are having more issues with Michelin, which was the final death knell for the F-1 IMS race.
    • it's not the track it's the product
      Mark Miles, Build it and they will come right? I moved to Indy to build IndyCars. I grew up going to race tracks nearly daily. I have not been to Indy for years now because the product simply isn’t interesting anymore. So, it is a little unclear to me who exactly the target market is at this point and new seeds need planted stat. 1) Move the race to a day that does not compete with the Coca Cola 600: it is what it is; it will not lose it’s international appeal and IndyCar just doesn’t compete nationally when there is a Nascar race on. Do people really care if it is on Sunday or Monday- it is a holiday weekend? (logistics) 2) This allows the track to subsidize the drivers people PAY to see (are they the best- who cares they bring the $). $1,000,000 for running one race to Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick, one Formula One driver, the driver who wins the Knoxville Nationals, and a fan voted seventh driver. $1,000,000 may not be worth the time of five of these so double their winnings if they win. Work WITH Nascar to make this happen: i.e. pay revenue insurance polices if THEIR stars get hurt. Get the other series to co-market for you by rewarding their stars with an opportunity at history. Have fun with it and think big. (advertising you could not buy even if you had the revenue to buy it) 3) MORE TRACK TIME even if it means subsidizing it. People tell me all the time they go to the track and never see a car run. Get them out every day. 4) On-site gambling like the horse tracks. This one is a no brainer. Parade these drivers through Vegas, crowd source special buy-ins, and get gamblers to pay the purse. 5) Let the manufacturers run wild: Take the SPEC car out of what it is supposed to be a “spectacle”. No points to the IRL. Mandate a load cell or tub, the wings, and the bottom. Offer each major auto manufacturer the same as the drivers above: $1,000,000 to show up and stick their name on a car they co-create. (priceless co-op advertising dollars and how many fans does Ferrari bring to each race again?) 6) Plant seeds for the future: Work with local schools to get CCTV or internet feeds into every school for the month: create learning programs that facilitate classroom discussion…it is all there: science, math, history, business, marketing, etc. Bus them in for field trips. And, kids under 18 get in free all month. Real revenue lies in selling ancillary products to cheeks in the seats, not tickets you can’t give away. Look around the internet- today’s consumers want to get something before they give something. 7) Big name “unassociated” shows: has beens are nice but where is Carrie Underwood? Rianna, Taylor Swift, Eminem, etc. Negotiate with international broadcast publicity and a percentage of infield concession sales for a window of time they are there. Just force their fans to be exposed to your product- maybe they return. 8) Think big again. The new generation grew up with x-games. To kick off the month of May, can an IndyCar really go upside down and complete a loop? i.e. show people what an IndyCar can do that a Nascar cannot and put Tony Stewart in the seat to complete the loop…Live TV like the guy who just walked across the Grand Canyon! 9) Expand upon the snake pit- people love it. Restore the product before the facility. Doing the same thing has not worked for a decade. Getting revenue back will take care of facility upgrades. If you want more big ideas I am available- call me.
    • Not sure
      I've been going to the 500 for over 40 years and have lived in Indy all my life, so I grew up with the Speedway. I guess I show my age (almost 70) but before "the split" the 500 always drew huge crowds - world's largest one day sporting event - and it was! No problem then selling tickets. But then came Tony George and IndyCar/IRL. The Speedway and the 500 have not been the same since. Yes, I think Tony made a lot of improvements to the facilities, but then the crowds went down and so did $$$. I'm not sure what the answer is, but something needs to be done. Good luck to Mr. Miles and Mr. Boles. I hope things can change.
    • Long Live the Track
      Wow! Doom and gloom much, geez. By the look and sound of this article you would think that the Speedway was literally crumbling. A lot of fans love Indy because of the charm that comes from years of history and use. I like knowing that, while it is old and rickety, it is still remarkably similar to the way it was in the 50's. That experience is all part of what makes the track a special place to visit in May. As a sports fan, I don't think that every facility has to have seats that recline and massive video boards for me to enjoy the experience.
      • LOL mike
        You keep putting your foot deeper and deeper in your mouth, Mike. It's obvious you haven't watched one second of F1 since departing from Indy. The racing has been as competive and exciting as ever the past few seasons. Although with the aid of devices, but also considered advancement in technology - moveable wing flaps and recharging battery boost - the racing is fantastic. 2012 started off with seven different winners in the first seven races, with eight different winners by season's end. This year there have been four different winners with teams improving and capable of there being others. Michelin also does not supply tires anymore - they haven't for a few years now. The tire issue a few weeks ago was nothing the manufacturer did wrong nor was it anyway relatable to the Michelin debacle. If you're gonna bash on something, make sure you know a little about it first so you don't look ignorant.
        • NASCAR, F1 Slow and Boring
          Anyone that saw this year's 500 or say, the one a few years back when Sam H. passed Marco on the last lap, or say, any of the recent ones with amazingly close finishes -- would have to say that despite the issues with the aging facility and surrounding 'meth lab' of a neighborhood, Indycar is easily the most exciting racing of the three.
        • Our own Wrigleyville
          LeonardJohnR is right. Just think of lovable old IMS and its surrounding 'meth lab' of a neighborhood as our own Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville! :)
        • Gentrification
          Part of Doug's current challenge is location. When IMS was built the track location was out in the middle of nowhere. It pretty much stayed that way until after WWII. With post-war prosperity came neighborhoods of quickly built factory homes for young families and their baby booming activities on most sides of the track. That worked out delightfully until the late 1980s and early 1990s when population demography shifted radically. In Indy the middle class migrated outside the 465 loop to places like Carmel, Fishers and Noblesville, west toward Avon and beyond or south down Greenwood way. The result has not done wonders for IMS. The city can put all the fancy medians they want down the middle of Westside thoroughfares such as Crawfordsville Road or 38th Street but it will not change pervasive decay eating away at either side of the main drags. 38th Street is essentially a blighted ghost town from 465 to 65. The once great Lafayette Square has become a crime-infested wasteland that is dangerous during even daylight hours. Honda West became the last major new car dealer to flee just this month. The entire length is littered with abandoned buildings that once housed national brands for shopping and commerce. Crawfordsville Road is a good place to get a payday loan, fast food, liquor or tobacco but is it something that complements the historic palace down the street? How can Boles and crew effectively enhance a facility that sits in the midst of areas that increasingly resemble urban Detroit? The Speedway redevelopment effort is a great example of burgeoning gentrification taking place in the town of Speedway. It is a start but when will, say, 16th and Kessler get gentrified? What about the cheaply built post-war National Homes literally falling down around Eagledale? IMS needs to begin inside their own gates. Re-galvanizing sections of stands annually is necessary, but visitors don't really notice anything except shiny iron next to rusty iron. Visitors DO notice weed-infested, un-mowed grounds. And broken, cracked, missing pavement in the museum parking lot. And litter. And giant cracks (complete with weeds) in sidewalks along pit road. And video monitors that outlived their usefulness around the time VHS became popular. And someone else's urine (or worse) that drips from cracked pipes attached to troughs in cinder block restrooms. Human nature being what it is a person might actually believe his own house is clean and well kept, but visitors may believe they have entered a pigsty and are too polite to say anything. IMS is too personally important for politeness. Daytona can spend $400 million to renovate a track half the age of IMS and IMS can't even mow the grass regularly!? There are so many small, basic things that need to be done immediately that any grand plans are less important at the moment. How difficult is it to keep weeds out, grass mowed, stands and structures shiny, plumbing updated and pavement unbroken? Meticulous attention to that kind of detail, Penske style, is necessary. Boles and crew must see the place as outsiders would. Longer term? Here are a few suggestions. Race fans tend to reflect most of society. They are fatter, more lazy and take up a lot more room these days. It is just as easy for most these days to plant their bulbous behinds on an oversized sofa in air conditioning facing a 60-inch HDTV with all the junk food they can inhale. It takes actual work for most to travel to any entertainment offering much less an auto race. Every step of their journey must be made easy. Once they get inside they need to be kept comfy. Aluminum slabs with seat numbering far too close together (not to mention close rows) will no longer get the job done. Take rows out of every stand and increase leg room. Add a minimum of 6 inches to the width of seats. Start the stands in the turns higher up. Get rid of metal folding chairs wherever they currently exist. What Pocono did with many of their aluminum seating slabs is ingenious. Plastic seats with backs were permanently attached and were spaced to accommodate normal sized people. Consider building condos in the area occupying now removed Northeast Vista seating at the end of the backstretch. Give fans something tangible for the increased prices they are now paying for tickets.
          • Mike, what?
            Mike, perhaps you should actually view an F1 race before commenting. F1 has been more exciting for years now with many different winners and very good racing. I wonder if you'd say the same thing about the really boring Indy cars running on street courses? Indy will be in Austin before you know it and we'll show you good racing. As far as the Circuit of The Americas goes, it is state of the art and will only get better with time. Get on board or get left behind
          • Race Fan
            Hey, you are right and my bad about the F-I tires brand maker. I checked however, and it was not Michelin but Pirelli who is having the F-1 problem. Just today, Pirelli said "(F-1) teams must lose their paranoia over tyre testing", and while the teams and Pirelli are fighting, this is not an old issue as you assess, but the article described the issue as the "twin debacles of the Mercedes test scandal and the Silverstone tyre blowouts, Pirelli has had to continue to use its outdated 201 Renault test car for tyre development". Of course, not like the racing in the U.S. there is too much government money doing what we in the U.S. have the capitalists to do. So, when it comes to F-1 and European sports, me thinks I'll stick to curling have the edge over F-1.
          • What's happening?
            IMS is run like a fine oiled machine, just open the gates and collect the $$$$$. GRANDE amounts of $$$$. What happened? It's ok Mark Miles and Doug Boils, I have the answer. DOUBLEHEADERS! And, why isn't Tony GeoRge Jr. running this thing yet? He's got the Indy Lights down to 8 cars so it's clear he has the right stuff to save Indy, Speedway and world hunger in a weekend. I like where this is all headed....$900MILLION and COUNTING! WoooT!
          • "Disciple" tells it like it is
            Thank you for your honest and straightforward assessment, Disciple. I've been to Laguna Seca, Silverstone and Montreal recently, and although these tracks have been criticized for being below the standard set by other tracks (such as COTA), they remain fantastic places to see a race, and are FAR cleaner, and more fan-friendly than IMS. There is still time to comprehensively upgrade the Speedway, but this must be done NOW, or fans will continue to stay away in droves.
          • IMS Place Fans
            don't know what "standing starts" mean
          • Topic Relevance?
            Actually, we do know what standing starts are. They are fine in F-1. That is where they should remain.
          • What happened?
            I thought the IMS were the stewards of the AOW sport? How could they let the speedway get in such poor condition? Has any one looked (or cared) on what condition the sport overall is in? Do you think the rampant neglect hasn't bled over onto the IRL/Indycar Series with it's 0.18 TV ratings and low attendance? Do you think a little rust paint and handicap platform is going to resolve the unwatchable varied TV schedule on several low paying networks, locked into to 2019? What about the ICONIC decision making that fueled the hideous DW12 car and the body kits that never changed the look or cost less to make and create variety for the fans to enjoy? You don't think any of those ICONIC decisions weren't just half-arsed cheapo "the fans can't tell the difference in the cars or engines" decisions to show change without actually making any...do you? This is a SYSTEMIC erosion, a constant tainting of the sport from the very top of the Hulman Co. organization. They took a gamble in 1996 and IT DIDN'T PAY OFF. When will someone, ANYBODY, step forward and admit it was the cause of everything we have today? When it's too late, is that when? When the Hulman BOD runs out of options to fleece the public out of monies to prop up their bad business sense? Save our Speedway? Seriously? The only thing that will save the Speedway is remove it from the it's killers. But that will never happen. So, as the Dipsicle quoted in the blog Anthony centered his writing on said thousands of times over the years here at IBJ..."don't you worry your pretty little heads. The speedway will be here long after you and I have gone". Well, not without $$$ it won't. They spent almost $1BILLION since 1994 and this is all they got...a series in decline, a speedway in decline, an Indy 500 with the lowest TV ratings since they designed TV's. Tix price hikes, fleecing the govmn't for money. Subsidies, and welfare for it's cars so they will be assured to participate. Only an 8 car ladder series. Sheesh...the whole thing should be scrapped. 2013 is here and it ain't profitable...the whole place might be worth more in scrap metal. There's how they can raise funds to pay all these Presidents and CEO's...
          • Chicken Little Is Back
            "I thought the IMS were the stewards of the AOW sport?" That is correct, son. They are. Always have been. Always will be. Despite occasional unsuccessful mutiny attempts. "How could they let the speedway get in such poor condition?" Simple. By elevating an accountant and giving him a mandate to spend no money. "Has any one looked (or cared) on what condition the sport overall is in?" Absolutely. Once adults eliminate hysteria and screeching from such analysis what they find is that IndyCar holds the same relative position in the sports pecking order as it always has. The leadership team led by Mark Miles is planning to improve their spot in that particular packing order. "Do you think the rampant neglect hasn't bled over onto the IRL/Indycar Series with it’s 0.18 TV ratings and low attendance?" I do not believe one is directly related to the other. In your whacko world, perhaps. But out here in the real world, not so much. "Do you think a little rust paint and handicap platform is going to resolve the unwatchable varied TV schedule on several low paying networks, locked into to 2019?" Again, your attempted correlation defies logic and sense. Hardly surprising. Rust paint will make the center of the sport look nice to those of us who get it, and 'handicap platforms' (nice sensitivity) will help IMS bring the 104-year-old facility into ADA compliance laws of 2013. “What about the ICONIC decision making that fueled the hideous DW12 car and the body kits that never changed the look or cost less to make and create variety for the fans to enjoy?" The ICONIC decision gave fans a car that is more racy than any have been over the past few decades. Descriptions of the car as 'hideous' are usually confined to obsessed squatters who cannot effectively deal with any sort of success and have been 100% wrong with their prognosticating for eighteen straight years. "You don't think any of those ICONIC decisions weren't just half-arsed cheapo 'the fans can't tell the difference in the cars or engines' decisions to show change without actually making any...do you?" As an adult, my belief is that they made lemonade out of lemons. At the time a few years ago when that decision was made the country was in a depression, and expecting team owners to spend millions on several types of new cars was unrealistic. Again, as an adult fan who watches every race and attends most I appreciate the raciness of the car. And how can any of you youngsters criticize the looks of the DW12 when other series you seem to enjoy (like F-1) drive such hideous creations? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. "This is a SYSTEMIC erosion, a constant tainting of the sport from the very top of the Hulman Co. organization. They took a gamble in 1996 and IT DIDN'T PAY OFF. When will someone, ANYBODY, step forward and admit it was the cause of everything we have today?" How about never. Have you ever actually looked at historical fact objectively? Obviously not. What we have did not begin in 1996. It began in 1979. That was the first serious attempt at mutiny. That bunch left a legacy of lawsuits and damage that in many cases still lingers. It took poor old Doc Mattioli dying, a cowboy and assurances the mutineers were long gone to get IndyCars back to Pocono after 24 years. What did these geniuses do in 1996 after Tony George started a complementary, non-competing series? Got their gigantic egos dented and made sure that if they could not have everything their way they would do whatever it took to kill the entire sport. Whenever one of you obsessed kiddies uses creative profanity, taunting or other childish play to chide an IndyCar event or ratings, my first thought is always 'thanks for watching. That's what fans do.' My second thought is always 'How many attended this week's cart race and what kind of ratings did they get? Oh, that’s right. They killed themselves. Twice.' Sooner or later you and your little klatch should try orienting yourselves in the current century. "Save our Speedway? Seriously? The only thing that will save the Speedway is remove it from the it's killers. But that will never happen. So, as the Disciple quoted in the blog Anthony centered his writing on said thousands of times over the years here at IBJ..."don't you worry your pretty little heads. The speedway will be here long after you and I have gone". Well, not without $$$ it won't." Actually, it will be here long after all of us are gone. To deny that is to admit you really do not understand much about the sport and its history. "They spent almost $1BILLION since 1994" Still awaiting any sort of rational accounting of that ever-increasing number. Will you ever have anything other than your own special brand of hysteria as a source? Have you ever truly thought about how ridiculous the numbers are that you toss out there? Do you have any idea how unbalanced you seem to the outside world? "Sheesh...the whole thing should be scrapped. 2013 is here and it ain't profitable...the whole place might be worth more in scrap metal. There's how they can raise funds to pay all these Presidents and CEO's..." Too bad. Will not happen in your lifetime. Keep dreaming. But most importantly, Keep watching.
          • 2 cents
            Now that is what I call 2 cents in a million dollar handbag. When all the verbosity about the cost and greatness of the bag is expired, all you have is 2 cents. Sell the bag. I would never argue about how much was ever spent for what. I know no more than disciple of the indycar, which would be nothing. But with all this concern about the Greatest Spectacle's Home becoming decrepit, it points out that whatever the family has had to spend was more than they could afford since they can't take care of their money maker. I'll go with what looks real. Money is short. It went somewhere and there isn't enough.
          • The Finances Remain Private
            Oddly, the very same family did not have a problem keeping the place pristine and enhancing it every year when there was just one race a year. Perhaps that's the answer to the 'problem.'
          • The war's over
            More races meant more $$$ to spend on saving AOW from the evil CART doers. Good point Dipsicle, why don't IMS drop the Brickyard 400, the MotoGP and the 8 car Freedom 100? The war is over. Untarnish the tarnish. Get back to live TV blackouts and Sunday blue laws. Get over to the junk yard and unearth the Speedway Motel from reconstruction. Take back the speedway! From themselves, and return it to it's glory days. Not a chance...$1BILLION is not available anymore. Bwahahahahhaha!
          • WHO is responsible then
            dispcile, who is responsible for the condition the Speedway is in? Did I read you are blaming Belskus? rust never sleeps and Belskus doesn't even have a corrosive personna. keep praying for uphill waters with that sewage.
          • Dumbing It Down
            Definition of FACETIOUS: 1- joking or jesting often inappropriately; 2-meant to be humorous or funny, not serious (a facetious remark) . . . Definition of GULLIBLE: 1- easily duped.
          • Funny
            You are the definition of gullible, all due to your blind love of the speedway. Sickening. Who lives in the ghetto adjacent on 3 sides of the IMS? Who's gonna fix their houses and sidewalks now that the yellow brick road of taxpayer subsidy lines the Speedway in gold, huh? You don't care, do you? Belskus responsible the ghetto too?
          • Chief Needs a Spittle Cup
            THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING! WOLF! WOLF! FIRE! Lol.
          • All is well
            Stay calm, all is well. SAVE OUR TRACK! Wahaahahaaaaa....Help! The current management runs the place so well we need help. You are an internet superstar.
          • Another Speedway success story
            Tomorrow in Toronto where few will even care the IRL series is in town....IMS will hand the keys over for the 8-car Indy Lights Series to Dan Anderson to run. Cutting the fat, essentially. The speedway FAILED at running it, just like they are failing at the upkeep of 100+ year old national shrine they own and are responsible for. It's a disgrace to have to use public funds to prop up a private business, in a ghetto no less. Save our Speedway.
          • Mirror
            What time do the Atlantics and CanAm run tomorrow? Oh wait. Never mind.
          • Lame
            Greg Gruning is OUT. Maybe you can make a wise crack about the. Save our track....wahaaaaaa.
          • What time does TOney's
            All-American All-Oval series run at Kentucky Speedway or did they get replaced by ARCA... LOL
          • Mirror
            You should use one when you trim your bangs, 'cuz. Save our track from the evil rust and neglect. Waaaa wahaaaaaa waaaah. I like the new idea Miles is floating from Toronto...standing starts at Indy.
          • The Drivers should have to run
            from the artograf table to their car; push start it and then race
          • Blown Chances
            In an article published in the IBJ today it looks like moar good news for the Speedway. They are struggling to find a sponsor to replace IZOD. Go figure....no one wants to be associated with the series or the dilapidated ruins of Indy. Save our speedway...waaa waaa waaa. How did it get in this shape? Who is responsible? What taxpayer ripoff is going to rescue it? Why is that area a ghetto, as Dispicable described it?
          • Everyone needs to chill
            Exactly COTA is brand new. And it cost $400m, that's MILLION dollars! So now everything around the country has to be rebuilt to look new with modern amenities? let me ask one question: what are fans' expectations when they attend a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field? I have never been there so I write this as an outsider. Do they expect modern amenities? I suspect no. They expect the heritage and mystique that is Wrigley Field. IMS is a far cry from "horrendous " and has something none of all those other facilities have. No one can take IMS's history away and whatever is done under Boles' watch had better be well thought out and the heritage respected. What really ticks me off is now that NASCAR is there suddenly all these changes have to be made to accommodate NASCAR fans. Night racing?! Seriously!? So what's next? Will they have to level 3 of 4 of the surrounding neighborhoods now too and fix that so fans will feel safe when they approach and depart the speedway for a night race? NASCAR should not be at IMS in the first place! IMS was not intended for stock cars! The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built as a one event a year facility. The whole point was to be able to close it the rest of the year and keep maintenance costs to a minimum. Why does NASCAR have to ruin everything?
          • You nailed it.
            Very good point.
          • Who brought in NASCAR?
            Are they they folks responsible the IMS demise?? Why don't "they" whip out the pocketbook to "Save the Track"? It's theirs, right? Apparently they wanted it like this....let it rot.
          • TOney needed NASCAR's
            money in his war against open wheel racing
          • Wrigley Field
            The Cubs' new management are on their way to major renovation of the Cubs current dump with the blessing of the city and the apartment barons in the outfield. Yep, good ol' Wrigley Stadium (as Indiana legend Jeff Gordon called it) is moving ahead into the 21st century. From the sound of it, IMS is it far worse shape than crumbling Wrigley.
          • Good, Good
            I feel your anger, Chief... Let the hate flow through you...
          • Well
            Is it concerning to ANYONE here that IMS is posing this as if THEY are the victims? That, seemingly out of IMS' control, the Speedway magically was thrust into some decrepit shape...the victim of some vicious conspiracy of time, environment and neglect? Friends, poor management = less money in coffers = neglect of personal property. When is Mark Miles going to admit this? The Hulman family will still eat well while the taxpayers $100M + will fix their indescretions. What about the 3 sided ghetto? Who's gonna pay for them to have their houses fixed?
          • Serves you right
            "Disciple", what's happening to many other people in this story is a tragedy. You, on the other hand, deserve to see what you 'defended' crash and burn.
          • Their OCD Is Continuous
            Is this another 'split' bit of pointless nonsense from the obsessed sore loser kiddies? Get help.
            • Way ahead of you, bro
              Already got my team working on getting me $100m of that sweet gummint money. It's appropriate that, instead of blood on your hands, you have sewage.
            • Who cares?
              Does it really matter anymore? The Indy 500 is mostly a local affair these days, the family drives in from Muncie the day before the race now. Tony's "vision" took all the money that was supposed to go towards keeping the old lady up-to-date and moved it over to subsidies for his IRL teams. Yes the war is over, as Disciple likes to point out Champ Car is dead and gone, but so is IndyCar for the most part. Nobody watches on tv, the stands are empty now that Marlboro no longer gives away free tickets, and the "raciness" of the new cars just doesn't excite like it used to. IndyCar had one shot to get the fans back, they needed a car that would rival or surpass the F1 cars in looks and performance, but they squandered their chance and sold out to Dallara. Now we have a car that wasn't even supposed to be the "real" car, it was a display model Dallara threw together to please the fans that were screaming for a new car. Dallara never even did any windtunnel testing on it, they just put an engine in it and told Dan to go drive it around for awhile and see how it handled. But, I agree with Disciple, the sky isn't falling. Afterall, we can all go get a cup of Italian coffee in the lobby of the Dallara factory and then go outside and watch the Speedway rust away and talk about the glory days.
            • You can always yell split!
              Disciple the war is over time to move on. Look at all the articles of concern popping up these days. Are they all about the split? Seems to me they are about the current state of affairs. Maybe you should follow your own now well worn out advice. Time to forget the perceived problems that caused the split and deal with the real problems that are right here, right now in this decade. It would be the mature thing to do.
            • Lots of Defensiveness Up In Here, but Not a Lot of Substance
              Carter, I took the correct path in 1996. Speaking of brusque defensiveness, a couple of your little friends continue trying to weigh in with mostly meritless taunting. The funniest part of the typical overreaction of your ilk is the notion IMS needs to be 'saved.' There is a difference between saving and gentrification. The track does not need to be 'saved,' it simply needs to be fixed up. The second funniest part is mostly clueless pontification about the guaranteed $100 million loan. I have found the folks cackling the loudest either live outside Indiana or are not old enough to vote. Then there are colossally ignorant statements such as: "The Indy 500 is mostly a local affair these days." This kid might want to research the number of countries that have television entities that carry that race. Or perhaps travel to far-flung locations on earth such as Jakarta, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, more places than I can remember in Europe or the Middle East...or even Russia and note the first thing out of folks' mouths when they find out you are from Indianapolis. Here is another hostile oft-repeated epithet borne mostly of ignorance: "Tony's 'vision' took all the money that was supposed to go towards keeping the old lady up-to-date and moved it over to subsidies for his IRL teams." In actual reality, IMS saw its most significant period of improvement during the IRL years including the new Pagoda, the F-1 track and complete replacement of all the stand on the inside of the main straight. That was also the period in which most big cart teams fled their own dying series once they realized it really didn't have ANY future. All of a sudden Tony wasn't so bad after all. Hypocrites. I also chuckle at the cluelessness of such taunting as "champcar is dead and gone, but so is IndyCar for the most part. Nobody watches on tv, the stands are empty now that Marlboro no longer gives away free tickets, and the 'raciness' of the new cars just doesn't excite like it used to." Huh? LOL. IndyCar has two national television deals that PAY IndyCar tens of millions of dollars every year. Depending on the time slot and network, IndyCar draws between 250,000 and 1.6 million eyeballs every time out (except, of course, for the Indianapolis 500, which draws far more). IndyCar is more highly rated than the majority of sports offerings on cable television. That effectively shoots down the 'nobody watches' nonsense. Attendance at most venues is steady or up, and success stories (such as Barber) consistently outnumber failures. Those who used to rely on Marlboro tickets now have to (gasp) BUY them. What a concept. For the most part ticket prices are very reasonable. Also entertaining is the irrational Dallara hate, also borne mostly of ignorance. "IndyCar had one shot to get the fans back, they needed a car that would rival or surpass the F1 cars in looks and performance, but they squandered their chance and sold out to Dallara." Sounds like the 'fans' to which this guy refers are road racing enthusiasts that have always wanted to turn IndyCar into American F-1 and are frustrated they can't. News flash: Given the appearance of most F-1 cars these days, surpassing it in looks is not that big a challenge. The thing most REAL fans actually care about is the quality of the racing, and for the past two seasons that is unparalleled at most venues. When these folks really get desperate, they start concocting fiction: "Now we have a car that wasn't even supposed to be the real car, it was a display model Dallara threw together to please the fans that were screaming for a new car. Dallara never even did any windtunnel testing on it, they just put an engine in it and told Dan to go drive it around for awhile and see how it handled." Laugh out loud, poorly positioned outright lies, again borne mostly of ignorance and hostility. Your kind might be surprised at the number of development and wind tunnel hours spent on that car. "But, I agree with Disciple, the sky isn't falling. Afterall, we can all go get a cup of Italian coffee in the lobby of the Dallara factory and then go outside and watch the Speedway rust away and talk about the glory days." OR, you could get a REAL Dallara tour from someone like Dario Del Corso or any member of the Dallara family to gain even a basic understanding of what actually happens there...and you could DO something about IMS other than acting like a second grader throwing eggs at houses. Real racing fans are more like me than the obsessed peanut gallery squatting in comment forums like these.
              • Dollars to oh, nuts
                "IndyCar has two national television deals that PAY IndyCar tens of millions of dollars every year." Don't you mean that they pay TEN MILLION DOLLARS every year? IIRC, it's approx 6M from ABC and 4M from NBC. About as much as Dover MotorSports gets for EACH of its Cup races, which is enough to pay the sanction fee to Nascar and the track's part of the purse to the teams, with a couple million dollars income per race before the track sells a ticket or a beer.
              • Positions of Ignorance
                Your math is off. Total packages, including the 500, top out at around 16. Additionally, they get some avails. Nice try/taunt though, Philo T. Farnsworth. Wait, let me guess...it would make more sense for IndyCar to buy time, right? LOL.
              • U R the ignant one
                for claiming 10s of million when you admit it isn't
              • Don't forget
                that Ole RB said their TV deal with NBC sports was a very expensive proposition and didn't know where that dollar figure bandied about came from. D thought there would be a bidding war between NBC and ABC for the 500 too. NBC didn't want it, and I don't think ABC did either, as their bid was the same as the previous deal. :lol:
              • Another Internet Expert
                Oh? Do the math. Calculate the value of the avails, associated sponsorships and the contract itself. Good luck. LOL.
              • I prefer to think of myself as more of a Lew Wasserman
                Farnsworth was a hardware guy. Wasserman had rubes like Farnsworth to make the hardware and dummies like you to drag cables. Hey, I'm happy for you to shoot yourself in the foot by carefully calculating all the pie in the sky happy happy and still coming up with significantly less than $20 million ("TENS" with an s). It's all good bro. The big question is why you haven't got the fuzzy picture fixed in my spare bedroom. I expect that sorted out and all your mess cleaned up when I get back from the country club. Toodles.
              • Hey Disciple!
                People are waiting for their cable boxes! Get back to work!
              • Y'all better step back
                he's a bonefried media insider
              • Did Doug Boles save the track today?
                What did Doug do today? Mark Miles...you shoulda took Michael Knight's advise and apologized. I say this because you can't go this alone, you need a fanbase. I know where you can find a fanbase but you have to keep promises and come clean. You don't have a clue, do you?

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              1. I am also a "vet" of several Cirque shows and this one left me flat. It didn't have the amount of acrobatic stunts as the others that I have seen. I am still glad that I went to it and look forward to the next one but I put Varekai as my least favorite.

              2. Looking at the two companies - in spite of their relative size to one another -- Ricker's image is (by all accounts) pretty solid and reputable. Their locations are clean, employees are friendly and the products they offer are reasonably priced. By contrast, BP locations are all over the place and their reputation is poor, especially when you consider this is the same "company" whose disastrous oil spill and their response was nothing short of irresponsible should tell you a lot. The fact you also have people who are experienced in franchising saying their system/strategy is flawed is a good indication that another "spill" has occurred and it's the AM-PM/Ricker's customers/company that are having to deal with it.

              3. Daniel Lilly - Glad to hear about your points and miles. Enjoy Wisconsin and Illinois. You don't care one whit about financial discipline, which is why you will blast the "GOP". Classic liberalism.

              4. Isn't the real reason the terrain? The planners under-estimated the undulating terrain, sink holes, karst features, etc. This portion of the route was flawed from the beginning.

              5. You thought no Indy was bad, how's no fans working out for you? THe IRl No direct competition and still no fans. Hey George Family, spend another billion dollars, that will fix it.

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