IRL draws record crowd at The Glen

July 9, 2008
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The Indy Racing League race July 6 at Watkins Glen drew a 1.0 overnight TV rating, meaning 1 million households nationwide tuned in, according to Nielsen Media. That is the same rating as last year. This year’s race aired on ABC.

But attendance was the highest its been in the four years since the IRL began coming to the track, said several sources close to the series. IRL and track officials do not officially release race attendance. While it’s difficult to gauge attendance with literally thousands of campers and RVs littering the infield and perimeter of the track, sources on the ground at The Glen estimate it near 80,000.

The IRL’s race date at The Glen has bounced from fall to spring before settling on the July 4 weekend the last two years. Given this year’s success, track officials don’t expect a date change for 2009.
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  • The crowd did in fact resemble a crowd this year. Since the ratings for the league usually plummet from the overnight to the final, we can expect a drop there, so it's reasonable to conclude at this point that the fake merger has accomplished absolutely nothing. Ok, Tony George is spending more money, but he will never run out unfortunately.

    All in all, he should just fold this worthless abomination immediately if not sooner. What a disgrace.
  • 80,000? Anthony, I was there and at best it was half that. That's still an upgrade over previous years - but the camp grounds were definitely not packed.
  • Stan,

    Perhaps the worthless abomination that should be eliminated is your non-sensical ramblings. While there are issues that need to be improved upon, there are some great racers in this series and it will only improve in the future. You are probably one of those that calls the war in Iraq illegal.
  • The campground and number of total campers can be tricky to guage. From past experiences I can tell you, lots of campers can be quite spread out. It's hard to get a good grip on the number. But the crowd was definitely up this year. That was evident. As for a number, it would be difficult to estimate.
  • Stan, come on big guy, lose the bitterness. We are only months removed from the unification of open-wheel racing. Deals are still yet to reflect the merge, teams are still getting used to the new structure, money is changing hands, and it will take years for this to have a deep impact.

    Just recently a meeting was held to discuss the IRL's near future. A long list of car makers want a crack at producing IRL engines, new sponsers are looking to get into it, full fields, new venues are weighing their possibilities, the Indy 500 had a renewed buzz. This was long overdue, but will still take some time to get it just right.

    Some of us just can't get into NASCAR and Formula One has about zero American appeal, so that leaves the IRL as the more sophisticated and tech savy racing league that could potentially gain the international market, something that NASCAR might not be able to do (not that it really needs it though).

    I know people want results yesterday and don't understand timelines over a few years, but Stan, give the IRL a break, this is halfway through its first year in its new format. If you don't like it... don't follow it.

    Oh and Stan... tell Kenny, Kyle, and Cartman I said hi.
  • Sorry for the confusion on the attendance figure. It should have been noted that 80,000 was estimated attendance for the weekend.
  • A long list of car makers want a crack at producing IRL engines...

    None of the car makers have said they are producing IRL engines, the meeting was just a discussion about possible new engines. The new spec hasn't even been released. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

    ...so that leaves the IRL as the more sophisticated and tech savy racing league that could potentially gain the international market...

    More sophisticated than NASCAR? That's not saying much. ALMS is much more sophisticated, tech savy and has more manufacturer involvement than the IRL ever will. George had 13 years to grow his series and has delivered nothing.
  • Brett,

    Add this to the junk in your basket, the American public is not interested in Sports Car races, be it ALMS or Grand Am. Just check the attendance. Purists love the sport and the cars are way cool, but it just doesn't interest the masses here, never has and probably never will. So for all the open wheel folks that are trying to do the right thing and get this train solidly on the tracks and moving in the right direction, all you can do is offer a slam?
  • Let's then compare IRL attendance to NASCAR attendance. The IRL doesn't interest the masses in in it's current form, sure Indy gets a big crowd but are they there for the party or the race, how many IRL drivers can the casual fan in the infield at the 500 name? The only other IRL races that are near sell outs are Nashvile which holds about 40k, Iowa 30k, and KY 50-60k, all of the other tracks are no where near half full for the IRL. George had his time and has failed, miserably.

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