IRL planting roots in Toronto

July 13, 2009
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torontoToronto has long been one of the biggest markets for open-wheel racing in North America. Last year marked the first time in 22 years there was no open-wheel event there.

Even after what some observers called one of the most exciting IRL races of the year, promoters of the Honda Indy Toronto street race were peppered with questions about attendance, economic impact and the race’s future.

While event manger Charlie Johnstone and Kevin Savoree, of Andretti Green Promotions, didn’t give much information about crowd size, they said the race would definitely be back on next year’s IRL schedule.

Media members were unrelenting after the race, continuing to ask the duo about bare patches in the grandstands and insisted on crowd and revenue comparisons to the days when the race was a Champ Car event.

“We have a five-year plan to rebuild this car race,” said Savoree, whose company is a division of Andretti Green Racing and helps run the event. “As far as the on-track product today, it was fantastic. There was something for everyone.

“We have lot of confidence that fans will be back next year, and that’s what we’ll focus on. Honda has a policy of reflection—we’ll do that, we’ll reflect on the event, and we’ll make it bigger and better next year. We accomplished everything we wanted to accomplish for 2009 event.”

Savoree added that his firm and the IRL have a three-year contract for the race in the streets of Toronto with options to continue beyond that.

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  • When you get the TV ratings for the Toronto IRL race on ABC, can you also get the ratings for the German F1 race on FOX and compare them?
    I'm curious to see if the series that doesn't race in N America gets anywhere near the massive ratings that the IRL pulls.
  • The earl cancer will likely kill off Toronto within a few years, like it has at many places. No loss.
  • HAhahaha you haters. ALl you got is hate. It was easy to see how much growth can happen at TORntao. LOTs a room for growth. THAts potential baby. ANd thats the IRls middle name. POTential all over the place. MORe potential then CARt ever had there thats for sure. BEets last years attendnace for sure.

    ALl signes point up.
  • Stan: There's an awesome website you should read. It's this sweet forum where a bunch of angry Canadians spend all day talking about another racing series because their own racing series failed spectacularly. Twice.
  • Will do, Jim. I'll make the inquiry. That should be interesting. Thanks for reading.
  • Hey Demond,

    Perhaps the racing series' you refer to are defunct, but they set a standard for all other series to ascend to. Perhaps the media in Toronto was correct....WHY was the crowd so small? What happened? Maybe Honda needs reflection?

    Marketing Lesson 101: Know what your target audience wants. The IRL still thinks it's an all oval series, right? Oh wait, now they are the saviors of all North American OW racing, tight? I'll guarantee the IRL has NO IDEA what the OW audience wants. SO, it flounders about trying to immitate CART/CCWS.

    One thing is clear about Toronto....they apparently don't care for the IRL. They only care that it fails.....
  • Chief: At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone here is now dumber for having read it.
  • How's that 600 million down the drain looking?
  • Why couldn't TOney afford to run a second car for 6 races?
  • Why did TOney's mother and sisters fire him?
  • why did only 15,000 bother to show up for TOneys successful series?
  • when it came time for TOney to cowboy up and keep RHRs Vision ride going, what did TOney do? like the immature person we know him to be, he passed his responsibility off on to someone else.
  • SSD,

    Why did CART go bankrupt twice in 12 years with just the loss of one race?
  • another one of your lies. they didn't
  • As to your pusillanimous question: they didn't have the Hulman family trust

    Why are you and TOney failures with the one race, with the Hulman family trust, and withouty any competitor?
  • Cart did not go bankrupt 2 times? Really?

    As far as your response, if cart had the cars and the stars, the big time sponsors, the tracks (minus one) and the business plan you guys all tout, even the Hulman Family money could not have caused its downfall. That would be like you telling me that if I had a billion dollars, I could cause the downfall of NASCAR or F1. Doubtful.
  • Still obsessing over Cart earlgirl? :lol: Awesome. The 'league' is still a profiteless failure.
  • An IMS-centric series was failing in the late 70s. 30 years later its doing the same.
  • why is the irl only good when Hulman money is being spent, but not good enough for tony george's money?
  • Stan, if you would ever actually read posts, and not just blindly post the same rants, you might learn something.


    Still didn't answer my question. Why did cart fail when it had everything going for it?

    TG money was Hullman money.
  • why can't the league with the one race get a title sponsor?
  • it didn't spend the 600 million dollars that TOney spent to drive OWR into the ground.
  • why did the CEO of the series that has the race throw in the towel?
  • the problem with the League is it has no innovation and no VISIONS and no one to copy from any more.

    Toronto will be Belle Island'ed next year. no more IMS dough to prop it up.
  • the irl has had the one race for 14 years. why did 80,000 spectators not show up in Toronto last weekend?
  • why did all those engine manufacturers, who the series with the one race claims are so eager to build the league's new engine, blow off the one race and the league in May?

  • why does the series with the one race only have one race?
  • why has the series with the one race failed comprehensively in most of its stated missions, particularly solving the riddle of developing new American talent.
  • And he'll have fun fun fun til his momma takes the check book awaaaay!!! hehehe

    why did the CEO of the series that has the one race not see in any hope for the future of the mess he created and therefore throw in the towel.

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