Surfers’ Paradise

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Michael Andretti: Surfers Paradise could follow Road America’s success with IndyCar comeback

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Michael Andretti supports IndyCar’s possible return to Surfers Paradise in Australia, believing it could enjoy similar success to Road America after its comeback earlier this year.

Verizon IndyCar Series officials confirmed reports last month that a return to Australia’s Gold Coast was being evaluated.

Surfers Paradise last played host to a non-championship race in 2008 after the Champ Car-IndyCar merger.

Andretti won the inaugural race at Surfers Paradise back in 1994, and is supportive of a possible return for IndyCar in the near future.

“It would be great,” Andretti told NBC Sports.

“I don’t know how real that is, but if it is real, I would definitely support it.”

Andretti thinks a race in Australia could mirror the success enjoyed at Elkhart Lake earlier this year, when Road America played host to a record crowd last month after an eight-year absence.

“From an event standpoint and feel-good for the series and support, it’s a fantastic event going down there,” Andretti said of Surfers Paradise.

“It would be cool to go back there because you look at what happened at Elkhart Lake – to come back that, it was overwhelming the support and everything that you felt there.

“It was actually a record crowd for that track. It could happen that way in Australia as well.”

When asked if Road America’s success reflected the strength of IndyCar at the moment, Andretti said: “I think so. We have support.

“You look at our events. Our oval races, some of them we have a bit of a problem getting fans, but man, when you get to the street races and some of the natural road courses, we get tons of people.

“There are still a lot of IndyCar fans out there.”