New racing series coming to Indy

August 17, 2010
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A new motorsports series may be coming to an arena near you—and soon.

MZD, a local advertising agency which has a division specializing in franchising, has been hired by Arena Racing USA to find operators of the series here in Indianapolis.

MZD officials are in the process of talking to the folks with the Pepsi Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Conseco Fieldhouse. Those talks have yet to heat up, but already, Rick Fuson, who is in charge of Fieldhouse operations for Pacers Sports & Entertainment, loves the idea.

Arena Racing was founded in Virginia, and has been very popular there and in Grand Rapids, Mich. It is expanding to the heart of NASCAR country (Charlotte, NC) next year, and series founders also want it in Indianapolis in 2011.

The stock car series runs 15 races per year on a 1/8-mile portable aluminum track. The cars are one-half the size of a NASCAR ride. The races can best be described as part oval racing, part smash-up derby.

Though the series has no official affiliation with NASCAR, there are plenty of connections.

NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs, drivers Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley, and Interstate Battery are investors. The series was started by Bob Keane and Ricky Dennis, son of 1970 NASCAR rookie of the year Bill Dennis.

Home Depot, Hoosier Tire, Stihl and the U.S. Army, among others, have signed on as sponsors.

“I’m a firm believer in this,” Gibbs said. “It provides great competition at a time of year when motorsports is typically dormant. Plus, it’s a cost-effective way to get started in racing.”

MZD signed on with the two-year old series in July, and MZD chief Allan Zukerman thinks he could have a deal done within six to 12 months. The season generally runs from October to March. Zukerman's first order of business is to find an investor willing to put $1.2 million into the local race series. The series consists of 56 cars, which drivers can buy for $12,000. Cars run in heats each race night, which culminates in a championship race.

“I’d like to see that entry investment lowered, but the business model shows you can make a profit by drawing 3,500 spectators per race,” Zukerman said. “We feel that’s very reasonable in this market. We think if this model can’t succeed in Indianapolis, it can’t succeed anywhere.”

Zukerman is well known in local advertising and marketing circles and should have no problem getting people to take his calls. MZD’s franchise division has already signed deals with Mr. Dan’s Restaurants, Ritter’s Frozen Custard, Wall Street Deli, Papa John’s Pizza, Steak Escape and Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips to name a few.

Pacers’ Sports & Entertainment’s Fuson is one who will take that call.

“We like the concept, we like the people behind this, and we think we’d have interest from fans in motorsports-related events here,” Fuson said. “We look forward to talking with the folks from MZD.”

  • I got it!
    Let's continue to saturate trhe region with NASCAR racing (albeit in a clandestine fashion with this thing)and dumb it down to the lowest common denominator. Apparently NASCAR wasn't quite there yet. No, wait! They were. They already have oval racing/smash up derby. It is called Sprint Cup. Throw in some faux-drama and there you have it! NASCAR crap year round. They finally are bringing it inside to go full WWE. Classic move! Problem is, there sport is no longer as popular as it once was and, in fact, is in such a decline it is returning to third-tier status. Oh well, who cares? This is junky motorsports here. And with NASCAR on the way out, I go to the last hired, first fired card on this one. I give it one horribly laughingstock, goofy, fun to make fun of and watch the empty seats season. NASCAR is so yesterday. But they still do not get that important fact. Back to the trailer crowd, only in smaller numbers these days, as the textile mills and factories are all closed so there is not much in the way of scratch to buy tickets. Foodstamps don't work either. Hey NASCAR! There's an idee-er!
  • Lighten Up Burl
    I'm a white collar race fan living in Indy and me and my young sons would love to see this form of racing at Conseco in the dead of Winter. Bring it on and we'll be there. Burl you can stay home and stew in your bitterness.
  • interesting concept. I always loved the Thunder in the Dome when they ran here. I am betting they can draw better than 3,500. So is there like a Superbowl where the winners from each City race against each other?

    With the strong backers they have, it has a good chance.

    Hopefully they can figure out the exhaust thing, I remember in the dome it could down right foul by the end of the night.
  • interesting concept. I always loved the Thunder in the Dome when they ran here. I am betting they can draw better than 3,500. So is there like a Superbowl where the winners from each City race against each other?

    With the strong backers they have, it has a good chance.

    Hopefully they can figure out the exhaust thing, I remember in the dome it could down right foul by the end of the night.
  • admission price
    If it costs less than $15 per person per event, count me and my kids in for 3 or 4 races a year. I love to see up and comers.
  • questions answered
    As for ticket prices, the series' co-founder said the average ticket price per race night is $10. As for a Super Bowl type event where all the series winners meet at year's end ... there are no plans for that yet, but series founders aren't completely dismissing the idea. One of the allures of the concept is to keep travel at a minimum and thus keep costs down for competitors, so the Super Bowl idea might be difficult.
  • Burl - Stay home. Please
    It will make more room in the stands, if you do.

    I have actually heard of this series before (on and it sounds intriguing. It is a different direction from the Legends cars, which normally race outdoors. I have heard that the track will be elevated and it is see-through, IIRC. Interesting!!!
  • Racing
    Lots of names being thrown around to be involved hoping to get a lot of bang for small bucks.

    Surely they won't miss Barrel.
  • Stock cur
    You just know this will beat the irl's T.V. ratings!
    • Family Fun
      Arena Racing UsA provides an opportunity for a family to be entertained with competitive racing, indoors for a relatively low cost. No second mortgage to take the crew out with the tickets at or near $10. And we all are looking for good value when it comes to entertainment. Indianapolis is the racing capital of the world. With that distinction comes the charge to be an leader in the sport. Bringing Arena Racing to Indy is doing just that, being a leader. Funny, but a previous post was not very complimentary about the chance for Indy to get this exciting project. First off, there is no affiliation to Nascar in terms of Arena Racing being a "minor' league for Nascar. Simply put, Joe Gibbs and others see the value in offering the opportunity to be involved in racing either as a participant or a spectator at a relatively low cost and offer their support.
      Arena Racing would be good for Indianapolis and it would continue to show the racing world that we are indeed "The Racing Capital of the World" Thanks
    • Great Racing
      Well I am happy to see a lot of opinions about Arena Racing; that's a good thing. Plans are to build a World Champion; bracketing all the market winners and developing a real champion. We want to keep this affordable for the fan, the driver or team owner and the sponsor alike. This property reconnects with the local racing community like no other. We look forward to seeing it in Indianapolis.

    Post a comment to this blog

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    1. Hello Dear Are you tired of Seeking Loans and Mortgages,have you Been Turned down constantly By your banks and Other Financial Institutions or Micro Finance scheme. This is let you know with 100% guarantee that we Offer loans ranging from $1,000 Minimum to $1,000,000.00 Maximum at 3% interest rate per Month. We give out LOANS for developing business. a competitive edge/business expansion. email address: We offer the following kinds of loans and many more; * Personal Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Business Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Consolidation Loan * Combination Loan * Home Improvement * Xmas Loans for contact to seek for loan email this email address: Thanks

    2. My name is Mr Henry Josh and i live in the USA California and life is worth living right now for me and my family and all this is because of one man sent by GOD to help me and my family, i once had a life filled with sorrow because my first SON needed a kidney transplant and all our savings were going towards his medications and this normally leaves us with no money to pay our bills or even put enough food on our table and our rent was due and no funds to pay these bills and life felt so unfair to me and every night my wife will cry herself to sleep every night until one day, i was browsing through yahoo answers and i saw a striking advert of a man that gives out personal loans and that the offer is opened to all and i have heard so many things about internet scams but at this point of my life, i was very desperate and ready to take any risk and at the end of the day, i applied for this loan and from one step to another, i got my loan within 12 hours through bank transfer and you know, it was all like a dream and i called Mr Daniel Jones A Man who is the GOD sent lender i found and said, i have received my loan and he smiled stating that to GOD be the glory and i was so shocked as i have never ever seen anyone with such a GOD fearing and kind heart and today, i am the happiest man on earth because by GOD’S grace, my SON kidney transplant was successful and today he is healthy, i and my family are living very comfortable and happy and if you are in my former situation or in serious and legitimate need of a loan, you can reach this GOD sent lender via

    3. Greetings to everyone reading this comment!!! I am Greg William by name. I am out here to recommend the effort of Mark Oscar,I was in need of a consolidation loan amount of 50,000 and as soon as I got in contact with Mark Oscar Loan Firm on Wednesday last week and on Friday last week as well I receive an alert from my bank(Royal Bank of Scotland Group) that the fund was transferred,I want everybody on this site to contact Mark Oscar now via email on how to get a loan because I got my loan from them and I am very happy,so contact them now. Thanks!!!!!!

    4. Elected officials, like Mourdock, get vested in 8 years. It takes 10 years for all other public employees, most of whom make a lot less money. So much for the promise to finish out his term.

    5. Great state treasurer and a good man!! Just curious if the folks who didn't quite understand his quote would like to tell my daughter-in-law that God didn't intend her! Mourdock's comment was correct but twisted and the article didn't mention that his opponent and the press let the impression stand that Mourdock meant that the rape was intended. Stupid people!!