Tickets on sale for GP of NOLA today as Andretti and IndyCar complete weekend promotional blitz


Tickets are officially on sale for the new Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana as of Monday, via A kickoff event was held today with Andretti Sports Marketing principal Michael Andretti and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power on site at NOLA Motorsports Park.

It capped off a weekend where the promotional blitz hit the Alabama-LSU college football game at Tiger Stadium and the 49ers-Saints game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome; unfortunately both LSU and the Saints lost their home games.

Nonetheless, that wouldn’t put a damper on the weekend where Andretti, himself, was excited about the new event’s prospects.

“It’s been really good – I’m quite surprised. There’s a ton of interest,” Andretti told MotorSportsTalk in an interview from New Orleans. “Even before tickets went on sale, they’ve signed up 2,000 people or so interesting in buying tickets. There’s a lot of interest and curiousity. There’s not a lot of big (racing) events.

“I think this is a big event, people will be surprised how big it will be,” he added. “It’s an untapped market. It will be a great place for our sponsors, to do entertainment for the customers. I think it will surprise some people.”

The NOLA Motorsports Park circuit is flat and wide, and can almost be entirely viewed from a grandstand seat. That will make it unique on the calendar; Andretti likened the potential to Cleveland’s old Burke Lakefront Airport, a popular staple on the North American open-wheel calendar from 1982 to 2007. Here’s a view of the track Power tweeted out from the plane:

Justin Wilson was down in New Orleans as well to promote the event on Saturday. Wilson doesn’t have his IndyCar program finalized for 2015 as yet – many would love to see him take up the fourth seat at Andretti Autosport after completing his third straight year at Dale Coyne Racing – but nonetheless, one of racing’s nicest, fastest and tallest drivers was all-too-happy to be asked to help promote the event.

“It’s the first time here and yeah, it’s huge. It’s so great to be here,” Wilson told MST. “At first, I thought I’m not sure it’s gonna work. It’s a new market for IndyCar. Not sure how many know what it’s about. But I’ve been very impressed and we’re making race fans, and you see actual young kids racing go-karts. I think it’s got a lot of potential. They like the party-like atmosphere, and I see it being a big success.”

“If anyone can make a new venue work, it’s Andretti Sports Marketing, as they’ve done well with the races they’ve done so far,” he added. “So this event will do just fine.”

It’s an interesting proposition for Wilson to be in this offseason, knowing he doesn’t have a deal sorted and is promoting a race that potentially, if he doesn’t get a deal together, he might not be racing in. But going down to New Orleans for the first time and having the opportunity to sell his sport is something he still jumped at.

“You’d always prefer to have your deal done and have a good time, but when they said go to the LSU game, and promote the race, I’m like, ‘Uh why are you asking me?’ I don’t know how I got selected, but I jumped at the chance,” Wilson said. “So it’s a good time, and it was cool to tell my friends I’m going to the LSU game.”

Here’s a social round-up of the pics from the weekend:

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.