Last year, knowing attendance was poor at one of my favorite tracks, I made a plea for all IndyCar fans to consider making the trip to Kentucky Speedway. Those who went saw the tremendous finish between Ed Carpenter and Dario Franchitti, and the resultant nail-biting first victory of Carpenter's IndyCar Series career. Ultimately, though, attendance at the race was poor, and sadly, the race is off the schedule this year.
It's not quite a year later, but there's another oval on the schedule, and again, it's time to see what happens in terms of attendance.
Randy Bernard has publicly said if Milwaukee doesn't work out this time, that could be it for this venerable race track. So it comes down to once more unto the breach, IndyCar fans. Will this race live or die?
In the past few years, the Mile has been plagued by low attendance, not only due to scheduling issues, but due to some truly inept promotional efforts. This year, that isn't an excuse. We've also heard how ovals need to be more like street courses in offering additional entertainment and activities for fans. That's been taken care of, too. Andretti Sports Marketing has taken over the race, and is primed to deliver an absolute renaissance in terms of what's going on this weekend. The Milwaukee IndyFest is shaping up to be a great event, both on and off the track. And that's precisely what this track and its fans deserve.
This is the track of Ralph DePalma, Rex Mays, A.J. Foyt, Lloyd Ruby, Tom Sneva, Rick Mears, and dozens of other great champions of our sport. It dates back to 1903, and has seen the true highs and lows of American open wheel racing. Aside from Indianapolis, no track is as intertwined with the the course of this motorsport as Milwaukee.
Even if you're on a budget (as I certainly am), tickets are affordable. A seat high in the North Terrace will only cost $19 for Saturday and if you get up there on Friday, remember grandstand admission is free.
Let's make this happen, IndyCar fans. If you're anywhere close to Milwaukee, carpool, grab friends, make a spontaneous road trip weekend out of it. Bring an extra family member or friend. Relive those days where driving all night and sleeping in your car were worth it to see the race. Because if the racing this year has been any indication, it will pay off in a big way.
This is not a time for the jaded; it's a time for those who love IndyCar to step up, and in a big way. Let yourselves have fun again instead of navel-gazing on every real and imagined mirco-issue out there. Get to the track. Share that passion. Remember why you loved this sport in the first place. Find a way to be a part of something amazing.
It's easy enough to sit back, nitpicking and criticizing the good and bad alike online; it's something else to do something that directly, positively impacts this sport (and have fun doing it). IndyCar and Andretti have the promotion, the pricing, the competition, and the drivers to bring the Milwaukee Mile back. All that's missing right now is you. Let's do this.