IRL revs crowd at Long Beach

April 21, 2009
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longbeachBy all accounts the Grand Prix of Long Beach was a success for the Indy Racing League. The IRL, which signed a five-year deal to take over the former CART event following last season, was greeted by larger crowds (than 2008), increased corporate hospitality activity and strong retail sales, according to several sources at the weekend event this past Friday through Sunday.

All this despite 11.5 percent local unemployment. Long Beach Grand Prix President Jim Michaelian said attendance was up considerably from 2008. He said 10 percent seating capacity was added over last year, but still more is needed to reach the capacity of the race’s salad days.

Traffic on Interstate 710 was more crowded and backed up than it has been since 1999 or 2000, several local media outlets reported. Hot Wheels ran out of merchandise early Sunday, according to Matel officials, and several other merchandisers reported strong sales.

Vivienne Tondreault, who has been a volunteer Grand Prix race worker and organizer for two decades, credited the weather and the allure of IRL drivers with driving the crowd up. “The Indy Racing League has brought out new fans in droves,” she said. “The attendance is noticeably higher.”

Race organizers don’t think they got a huge attendance bump from Helio Castroneves’ participation because it was announced so late.

“We were pleased by the event, and we think there’s room for growth,” said IRL spokesman John Griffin. “The crowds Friday afternoon were pretty incredible. And we heard from race officials that hospitality activity was way up. There’s little doubt this will become a highlight on the [IRL] schedule and has the potential to be a top 5 race in our series.”
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  • This will be an outstanding event to look forward to each year. Great locale, weather, and knowledgeable, loyal fans. Great for the series. Take that (all this good news) you IRL haters!
  • This is good news. When you look at the dismall crowd at Saturday nights NASCAR race this is great news in this economy. Plus it also shows that no matter who runs in Phoenix it just is not a race town. The IRL has been dogged for poor crowds when they ran there and now NASCAR is showing the same. I attended Long Beach several years ago and it definately has a feel about it that only Indy surpasses. Sun, fun, fast cars, pretty women, beach side, and it looks great on TV. It may not be the best temporary street course of the circuit in terms of racing - but it makes up for that with the atmosphere alone.
  • HOT DOg. NOw just wate till the TV rating comes in. DID my part. LOAded up my brother BUCk and the boys into the GRemlin with some cold beers and we hit everry WALmart TArget KMArt and HHGReg ont he south side and put all them TVs on the VErses befoure the race on SUnday. BIg bump in ratings I egspect

    BUt there aint no race that comes close to INDy. CAn you even get a tennerloin in LOng BEach? HOt apple butter? NOthin but tacos I bet. KInd of liek SPeedway hahahahahahah
  • Truly what the IRL/TG haters do not want to hear. Of course they will say the numbers were cooked up by the IRL/LBGP Officials but that is what we expect from them.

    Good to see the Hot Wheels cars selling out and other vendors having good sales. With the economy in the toilet, this is real good news. All forms of racing are hurting right now.
  • Truly what the IRL/TG haters do not want to hear. Of course they will say the numbers were cooked up by the IRL/LBGP Officials but that is what we expect from them.

    Nope, They just used the same counting methodology that CART/CC used for years, that you hypocrites screeched like little girls about. Plus they have Roger's Red Hat brigade to fill up a big chunk of those empty seats, but you'll likely screech in denial about that too, since that's what the gomerati do.

    Btw, those crapwagons look absolutely disgusting on that course (or anywhere for that matter, but particularly stupid there).
  • Don't go bragging too much much Berwickgirl and indyboi.
    The red hats were out this weekend and there was a lot of people dressed in aluminum
    from the tv i watched on.
    You all will believe anything you read it appears.The crowd was counted BEFORE Sunday
    but you sheeple are too dumb to read that part.
  • Stan is right on time. Curious to see if the rest of the crew arrives. I will give Stan credit, he will come on here regardless, the rest only seem to come around when bad news is reported.
  • Alan snuck in on me singing the same song as Stan. Very much the same song, interesting.
  • Btw, those crapwagons look absolutely disgusting on that course (or anywhere for that matter, but particularly stupid there).

    I'm just curoius as to what Indy cars you would prefer. Give me a year, manufactor, anything.

    1990 March Porsche? 1995 Reynard Ford?
  • Hey Stan.... I am sick of your whining, i wish CART were still here comments on here! Get over it, Chump Car is dead and gone. It was a solid crowd, solid race, and it will be again next year...And those crapwagons look just fine..Sure they aren't the DP01 that CC invested so much in (thus speeding their demise along with 1,000 other poor decisions), but they look ok to me. CART/CC IS DEAD!!!! Let it die, and stop making asinine, pot stirring comments. NO ONE CARES ANYMORE...LONG LIVE INDYCAR
  • You silly Gomos will believe anything you are told!
    I'm guessing you have not seen the still shots of the EMPTY stands at Long Beach.
    Pathetic! Jim Michaelian is a big fat liar and you girls bought it!
    Too funny!!
  • I have been to EVERY LBGP. This year was the smallest in decades. Grand stands were removed (2 from last year) and still most stands were not even half filled. GS18 and GS16 were nearly empty. Take a look at the overhead crowd shots. Aluminum!

    Jim and Co. are spinning IRL attendance lies. Pictures, however, do not lie.

    LBGP is dead after one IRL event. FTG.

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