In motorsports, does 1+1=3?

February 28, 2008
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Does Gov. Mitch Daniels’ anointing of auto racing industry veteran Rollie Helmling as the state’s motorsports development director--or the unification of the Indy Racing League and Champ Car--create more motorsports business opportunities here? While state officials say yes, others in the industry aren’t as optimistic.

After all, most of the Champ Car teams are already located here, as are many of the suppliers who deal strictly with open-wheel racing in general and Champ Car in particular. Those businesses that deal with open-wheel and stock car racing that vacated Indiana for Charlotte during the last decade, probably aren’t coming back, at least not any time soon, said Mel Poole, a former CART front office worker who now operates a North Carolina-based motorsports sponsorship consultancy.

Motorsports experts think Indianapolis will reap a benefit, but it will take time. “If the Indy Racing League was a stock, I would issue a long-term buy,” Poole said.

Those in Daniels’ inner circle said Helmling, the former United States Auto Club boss and Tony George ally, has the credentials to maximize the benefit.

Do you think Helmling’s appointment will be the engine that drive’s Indiana’s motorsports growth?
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  • What did Rollie do for USAC? Not much, if you ask me.
  • I believe with Rollie joining IEDC he will be able to make available to all of the other local open wheel teams, and business that support the racing industry, other than the IRL, help they need to grow there respective business with some well needed economic incentives. Most people in the Motorsports Industry have no idea what economic incentives are available from either the State or City of Indianapolis.
  • He just about ran USAC into the ground. How anyone thought he could help the state is beyond me. If anything they needed to get someone with knowledge of the NHRA on board. That segment of the industry is ripe for large growth.

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  1. From the story: "The city of Indianapolis also will consider tax incentives and funding for infrastructure required for the project, according to IEDC." Why would the City need to consider additional tax incentives when Lowe's has already bought the land and reached an agreement with IEDC to bring the jobs? What that tells me is that the City has already pledged the incentives, unofficially, and they just haven't had time to push it through the MDC yet. Either way, subsidizing $10/hour jobs is going to do nothing toward furthering the Mayor's stated goal of attracting middle and upper-middle class residents to Marion County.

  2. Ron Spencer and the entire staff of Theater on the Square embraced IndyFringe when it came to Mass Ave in 2005. TOTS was not only a venue but Ron and his friends created, presented and appeared in shows which embraced the 'spirit of the fringe'. He's weathered all the storms and kept smiling ... bon voyage and thank you.

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