Saturday, October 25, 2008

Surfers Paradise in 2009?

The 2008 Nikon Indy 300 on the Streets of Surfers Paradise could be the final race on this popular circuit. It's a shame that a race that draws the size of crowd and promotions backing (see commercial below) that this race does could be on the chopping block but it comes down to season-long sponsorship deals.

It seems that this could be an ongoing issue until the series identifies itself as an international series or an American series. Many would contend that the decision has already been made, the IndyCar Series races in several international markets (Japan, Canada, Australia, talks of Mexico, etc.) but the clear majority of their races are in the United States and specifically, in the midwest. International sponsors don't want to limit themselves with a majority of US races and US sponsors don't want to lose several races per year to international markets. Granted, much of the sponsorship issues comes down to viewers, but I wonder what the sponsorship discussions would look like if it was billed as strictly American racing or strictly international (with the addition of several new international venues).

This weekends race is shaping up to be a solid race for the Aussie favorite, Will Power, who took the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award. Here's how the practice and qualifying in the days leading up to the race turned out (from

First round

(Two groups; 20 minutes per group with top six advancing)
Group 1: Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:53.1807); Alex Tagliani (1:53.4650); Vitor Meira (1:54.2486); E.J. Viso (1:54.5978); Mario Moraes (1:55.1731); Ryan Briscoe (1:55.4900).
Not advancing: Graham Rahal (1:55.6155); Oriol Servia (1:55.6628); Bruno Junqueira (1:58.0183); Ed Carpenter (1:58.7664); Townsend Bell (1:58.9264); Danica Patrick (No time).

Group 2: Will Power (1:50.4357); Tony Kanaan (1:50.6625); Justin Wilson (1:50.6966); Scott Dixon (1:50.7996); Dario Franchitti (1:51.3389); Helio Castroneves (1:51.5920).
Not advancing: Marco Andertti (1:52.2084); Hideki Mutoh (1:53.3353); Dan Wheldon (1:53.9160); Jaime Camara (1:54.0514); Buddy Rice (1:54.3489); A.J. Foyt IV (No time).

Second round

(One group; 15 minutes with top six advancing)
Advancing: 1. Dixon (1:39.2049); 2. Castroneves (1:39.6232); 3. Dario Franchitti (1:39.8594); 4. Briscoe (1:40.3121); 5. Power (1:40.4642); 6. Hunter-Reay (1:40.8848).
Not advancing: 7. Tagliani (1:41.3122); 8. Kanaan (1:41.4023); 9. Wilson (1:42.0429); 10. Viso (1:42.9185); 11. Meira (1:44.3348); 12. Moraes (1:51.5054).

Firestone Fast Six

(10-minute shootout)
1. Power (1:34.9451); 2. Dixon (1:35.7672); 3. Briscoe (1:35.8007); 4. Franchitti (1:35.9336); 5. Hunter-Reay (1:36.4030); 6. Castroneves (1:36.7425)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the powers that run Indy, have chosen not to continue their support for Indy in Australia. The race meet will continue as a V8 and A1 race meet. It's a shame as it was a great weekend with a brilliant party atmosphere. The Surfers Paradise and Queenland economies will suffer because of the loss of the event. It was bad enough this year with the reduced crowd attendance, brought about by the feminist wowser attitude of the Queensland Government.