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Low ticket sales put IndyCar at Pocono in jeopardy

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm •  Published: July 3, 2014
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The future of IndyCar at Pocono Raceway is in jeopardy because of a dramatic attendance drop expected for Sunday's race.

IndyCar returned to Pocono last year after a 24-year absence for the first race of a three-year contract. Track CEO and President Brandon Igdalsky said this week he planned to speak with IndyCar CEO Mark Miles and other series executives about possibly dumping the final year of the contract.

Igdalsky refused to divulge numbers, but said ticket sales "were kind of scary" compared with last year. While the track does not disclose attendance figures, about 30,000 to 35,000 fans were estimated at last year's race.

Igdalsky said he brought the series back because track research showed fans wanted the racing and would support IndyCar. He will not guarantee IndyCar will race at Pocono in 2015.

"As of right now, I can't say yes or no," he said. "We can get out (of the contract). If we have to, we'll do it. No sense in losing money, especially a significant amount of money."

Pocono Raceway has had two NASCAR weekends on the schedule for decades. He blamed the fans — not a glut of racing in the mountains — for the possibility of IndyCar leaving the track.

"The big thing is the fans," Igdalsky said. "The fans begged us to bring it back. Every study and report we did, they all said they'd come. But they're not coming in the numbers we need them to come in. Are these fans really here? In Pennsylvania? In the Andrettis' backyard? Why aren't they coming out? Where are they?"

A number of factors could be involved, including an undesirable holiday weekend date. The IndyCar race is sandwiched between the June 8 and Aug. 3 Sprint Cup races. The race also added 100 miles this year, and is now a 500-miler.

Igdalsky said he came out of last year excited about the turnout and had great hope for mutual success with the series. Tickets start at just $25 for the grandstand and children are admitted at a reduced rate. There are a variety of ticket packages that include amenities such as a fan session with Mario Andretti.

"You'd think Mario Andretti could help you sell a bunch of tickets," Igdalsky said.

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