WEST ALLIS, Wis. – Michael Andretti drew the loudest spontaneous applause from soggy spectators at the Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ when he announced that the IZOD IndyCar Series will be back at the Milwaukee Mile in 2013.
Tickets for the race weekend -- scheduled for June 14-15 -- go on sale June 17 (Father's Day). Reserved ticket-holders may renew their seats before July 16 at http://www.MilwaukeeIndyFest.com. Tickets will also be available June 18 at the Wisconsin State Fair box office, and by phone at 414-266-7100.
Andretti Sports Marketing announced Feb. 10 that it was assuming promotion of the event at the facility on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair Park, which has played host to Indy car racing since 1933 but was plagued by poor attendance in 2011 that put its future in question. Tickets went on sale March 1.
“We weren’t kidding ourselves; we knew this wasn’t something that was going to change overnight,” said Andretti, CEO of Andretti Sports Marketing and Andretti Autosport. “We felt like if we did a really good event this year and displayed it well that the skeptics are going to be the ones who hear how great the event was and we’ll get them to come the next year. Year 2 should be bigger, hopefully, that Year 1. This is a building year.”
Andretti Sports Marketing took a different approach to an oval event by incorporating a festival atmosphere with concerts, a family fun zone, Ferris wheel and the INDYCAR Fan Village in the infield. It appeared to be a hit.
“There was a huge crowd this morning and long lines coming in,” Andretti said. “We heard this was a late (ticket-buying) crowd and I can understand. They want to see proof, and I think all the buzz that’s been going around the past week with the block party, the autograph sessions and the drivers in the community has brought people out (race) morning.
“(Similarly) the sponsors, some of whom got burnt in the past, wanted to see how well this event came off. I expect a lot more corporate interest for next year.”
Taking over the Milwaukee event included an element of sentiment. Michael Andretti won nine times at the track, and the 1991 race featured an all-Andretti podium: Michael, cousin John and father Mario.
“It means a lot to our family,” Michael Andretti said.
Andretti Sports Marketing, which was started in 2011, also took over promotion of the IZOD IndyCar Series event on the temporary street circuit in Baltimore, which will be held Labor Day weekend. For tickets and event information, go to http://www.RaceOnBaltimore.com.
“We have the experience of the past (as Andretti Green Promotions) with the two races we promoted, but operationally this race has gone so smoothly it’s scary. For our first time back (as a promoter) it’s been great,” Michael Andretti said.
Carpenter’s road course car gets workout
Ed Carpenter Racing made its eighth consecutive start with one chassis (the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car).
The team’s second chassis (scheduled for oval races) crashed during Pole Day qualifications at Indianapolis and is being repaired at its Indianapolis shop. The team had to prepare it road course chassis (with four races already run) overnight at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to qualifying May 20.
So the road course chassis has been in superspeedway trim at Indy, road/street course setting at Belle Isle, speedway platform at Texas and the short oval package at Milwaukee (where advaned 14 positions to finish eighth). The car will be used through the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway next week.
John Marcum, CEO and founder of XYQ, was the honorary starter. … Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett read a proclamation declaring “Saturday is officially Milwaukee IndyFest Day.” … Andretti gave the command to start engines. … In honor of Father’s Day, seven fathers competed in the race: Rubens Barrichello, Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato and Justin Wilson. ... There were five lead changes. ... Race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay led the most laps -- 142-225. ... There was a 90-minute delay before the green flag because of rain/track drying.