I would first just like to thank the crew at Open Paddock for brining me on board. This is one of the best places for Motorsports Consumption of the IZOD IndyCar Series, F1, and Rally. Check the site every Wednesday for my off season Indy Hump-day Reports.
Edmonton, is it really gone?
You would think the race in Edmonton is dead, heck the series pulled it from the 2011 schedule, and issued an inverted pyramid declaring as much. However why did the event that went viral with Helio’s meltdown fail?
It always drew relatively large crowds. (I have heard roughly it drew on average 50,000 but the event never officially announced attendance. Which is not uncommon for racing venues.) After the IndyCar series black flagged Helio handing the race away to Dixon, the city of Edmonton had an unbelievable amount of mentions. From ESPN, to the New York Times, and even celebrity gossip shows who give us every move of Paris Hilton all chimed in.
You couldn’t buy that kind of attention, or wait, YES for just under $2 Million (Canadian) a year you could! See the problem is even if our friendly “Flanders” like neighbors up north might have Universal Healthcare, and a Parlimentary system (versus our, whatever it is we have in Washington). Well, politics is still politics.
Regardless of governments, or cultures when someone needs to be elected they want to avoid anything that could upset voters. It will always attract flies, and this steaming pile in Alberta was left with the bag on fire.
According to Mike Cockrall, this was a “Hot Potato issue” the powers that be on Edmonton City Council wanted to avoid. The City forced the series for the 2011 event to move locations at the airport. Edmonton felt moving to the abandoned runway would cost around $1 Million (Canadian) to renovate. Octane, the new promotors (not the group that ran it under who is Northlands). Felt it was more like $3 Million.
Yet the biggest problem is the city shut the race down, and never gave Octane time to obtain outside revenue to fund this. Also the City wanted to avoid the “expense” of paying a promotor like Octane less than $2 million (yes, Canadian) per year to run the event. (With Octane picking up all other costs to promote and operate the event.)
I’m not sure what they must be smoking on Edmonton City council, but I bet they drove to Vancouver for it. Beside seeing drunk “Hosers” with hard hats that spew oil flames during Oilers games, what else can draw people from North America into the Alberta City?
Keep the people who work for the tourism business there away from tall buildings. They may just feel the urge to take advice from Diamond Dave era Van Halen. (JUMP!)
I’m sure the NASCAR crowd is dying to spin this into painting the IZOD IndyCar series as a flop, when the biggest issue is nothing more than election year politics as usual. Oh, and all the people on Council who have tried to kill the event won.
Now it seems the Octane crowd are not done yet. Local business need the Edmonton IndyCar, and so there is still an effort to make it happen still. Obviously it is not the first event of the year like Brazil last season. So they have more time to work with. Heck, the season finale is still “TBD” for 2011.
The cure to what ails IndyCar in North America
Yes, so the rumors vary by the hour and day now. One minute I hear “it’s a done deal.” the next “It is just a rumor.”. Well, we should know soon, the “rumor” has a Friday announcement scheduled, allegedly.
I should note, that Dreyer & Reinbold are busy with sponsors this week. After Infiniti (The brand Mr. Reinbold sells many of) left IndyCar they ran several seasons with Chevy. (Including when they had Sarah Fisher become the first female Pole winner in any major series.)
That operation’s heyday was powered by GM! Wonder if suits from Detroit are being wined and dined by the D&R bunch. I’m sure it helps their efforts for a sponsor. Heck having a North American make in the series would help smaller teams get US sponsors and it could also help save Edmonton from total death.
You know who else has a happy relation with Chevy? Mr. Chip Ganassi. Seems big C has had a marvelous 2010 in NASCAR with the bow ties. After being the first owner to win the Daytona 500, Indy 500, Brickyard 400, and IZOD IndyCar Championship in the same season. I bet his friends from Michigan would love to have Chevy do all that as well. Well, all this speculation about a “Satellite” team and maybe getting Graham Rahal on. Don’t you wonder what would a “Satellite” team do? This sounds like fancy talk for “R&D team”. They put the wild untested new setups on the “Satellite” and if they break, hey they were not going for a title really. And well if they win put them on the 9 & 10 next week!
Only time will tell, but with NASCARs ratings dropping like flies, you know the American brands might start looking elsewhere again. I think money would be more well spent on second generation driver Graham Rahal, than third generation driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (Sorry Dale, it’s true.)
If GM is in, it could be a domino effect on 2012 makes, much like the driver free agency will become once Tony Kannan announces where he will race in 2011.