Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said the month of May at Indianapolis in its current stature could be so much more. So plans to increase exposure for the city, and the bottom line for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have made an IMS road course race for IndyCar all the more likely.
“We started looking candidly and asked, ‘Can take this to another level? What if we could do more with May?’ This will build to the culminating event. What if we could jump start and ignite May,” Miles said at the IMS press conference on Tuesday.
Miles said the two weekends prior to the Indianapolis 500 – which in 2014 will be held May 25 – needed a concerted effort to feel like bigger deals.
“We concluded we needed to concentrate on the weekends,” he said. “Opening weekend, I just had this nagging feel we could do more. We had a great antique car show, practice, and the atmosphere was starting but we asked why not turbocharge it. Let’s bring the best of our worlds together. I feel we need to expose Indianapolis race fans to IndyCar racing.”
That last line is, to this writer’s mind at least, a tad disconcerting considering the high volume of IndyCar fans that live in Indianapolis or the surrounding areas. But perhaps Miles’ point was more that a fair number of fans who attend the Indianapolis 500 do so because it is an iconic cultural event, not necessarily for the race itself.
And additionally, the Indianapolis 500 is blacked out locally in Indy, which removes a local option for fans who may not choose to attend the race in person.
Miles is optimistic this race could expose Indianapolis, and the IndyCar Series, to a greater national level of attention. As Mayor Greg Ballard put it, there is “nothing like the month of May in Indianapolis.”