Big crowds greet IRL in Edmonton

July 25, 2008
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tracyThe Indy Racing League’s foray into Edmonton is looking good.

Sources on the ground there for this weekend’s race report that IRL race signage and promotional material posted by city officials is evident along streets, in restaurants and at other public venues around town. Numerous Edmonton TV and radio sports show are playing up the race prominently.

Several hotel bars near the track are planning parties around the race, including free admission for crew members and race ticket holders. The Molson Girls are reportedly on hand as are a cadre of representatives from Frank’s Energy Drink, one of the IRL’s new sponsors.

Several of the drivers—including Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti—have been on the ground since mid-week and are actively promoting tomorrow night’s race.

Strong crowds have been reported at yesterday and today’s practice sessions. Qualifications, which got underway this afternoon, also had strong attendance. No numbers were released.

One reason for the big crowds, IRL sources said, is the re-emergence of Paul Tracy, who will race his first IRL race since 2002. Tracy has not disappointed, sitting atop the speed chart during this week’s practice sessions. He also spun his car into the turn 10 wall yesterday. Luckily for Tracy, and his legions of fans, he only mangled his nose cone, which was quickly replaced.
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  • Too bad the race in Edmonton didn't show better to everyone else in the world / US. If you knew what you were looking at, the race appeared to be quite competitive with good overtaking. But, per usual, or should I say even WORSE than usual, the ESPN telecast was horrible. I don't know if IMS Productions did the camera work, or ESPN/ABC but they seemed always out of position. Bob Jenkins... love the guy BTW, filled in for the usual folks, which I think do an admirable job (especially Vince Welch and Jack Arute) but ESPN left their best for NASCAR in Indy for the week, and left the IRL without the folks who normally call the race from week to week. What a shame. Good thing the broadcast rights agreement for the league is due to be renegotiated. Get the boys from FOX together to show the IRL races (and maybe some pre-race coverage once in a while wouldn't hurt) and watch out!

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