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April 03, 2012

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DZ

BammityBamBAM! (i.e. I agree with overwhelming ease).

Vince in TX (@sunsetlimited

At Barber, the fan access was amazing. First of all, paddock access was so open you almost felt guilty for all of the access. MOST drivers were friendly to the fan (especially the younger fans). The autograph sessions they had were MUCH better than the ones at Indy. They brought all the drivers over in 2 waves and fans could get autographs from ALL of the drivers. My biggest complaint about the IMS autograph sessions is that you pretty much have to get in line for an excessive long time to get a "known" driver's autograph.

GeorgeK

.....and MARKET THE HELL out of the fan access!!!! It isn't worth anything if no one knows about it.

Marty J in Des Moines

For me, walking around the paddock areas is great for several reasons... especially photography of what's going on with the drivers and their cars. I love to have the pictures on my screen saver all year long. So add one more item to "fan access"... photo op sites. Road courses are great for photography (and TV). I know the official press has access to great spots on the corners, but make sure the fans can get there too. And photo spots at ovals are hard to find without getting chased away.

Todd W.

Good point on not enough IndyCar drivers at the Fan Zone. Five drivers (I'll be really optimistic about Pippa's near future) out of 27? The drivers are too busy? Ed was there. Interesting how the only owner/ driver in the series had time to get to the Fan Zone.

redcar

I'm usually optimistic about INDYCAR because I think it's a good product and has been getting better under Bernard's guidance. I like the drivers, the new cars, most of the venues, the 500 and the possibility of even more good venues and different-looking cars in the future. But after reading about the ratings falling this year, after two pretty good races, I'm afraid I'm growing pessimistic about the future of INDYCAR. They sign autographs, they twitter, they give away stuff, they have a Fan Zone, they grant access to garage areas--they do all that already. I'm starting to think that the information and entertainment deluge that happened while open-wheel fought it's civil war has made it invisible on most people's radar. There are just too many choices for the sports and entertainment dollar, and way too many choices on the television, and we spend much more time on the internet machines. Between baseball, college and pro football, college and pro basketball, NASCAR and running the kids to soccer practice during commercials, who has the time? There may not be room in the popular arena for a series I think very highly of.

jpindycar

I am pretty jaded to tge wonders of wandering around an IndyCar garage, but was reminded how a big time thrill it can be at Barber this past weekend. I overheard Both Nascar and F1 fans just utterly dumbfounded at the access and proxomity they had to the machinery and drivers. Stunned didnt even begin to cover the tone of conversations overheard.

This picture really says it all...where else really does this happen???

http://jpsquared.smugmug.com/Racing/Barber-Saturday-2012/i-kRSG3RZ/0/M/C3307853-M.jpg

Ttomkat

Only 5 INDYCAR drivers at the autograph session? What happened from when they ALL were there?
At the races I went to in '09 & '10 every driver was at the autograph sessions (except TSheck who had food poisoning at Miami in Oct '10).
INDYCAR Downforce use to bring in drivers for Q&As all the time. At Homestead in Oct '10 we were treated to first Tony Kanaan and then Danica, Marco, & RHR. I think it was @ Kentucky that year they brought in both Dario and Dixie.
Have things gone backwards that much?

rj

"I think trying to get fans to defect from NASCAR to IndyCar is folly. That would be a huge investment of time, attention, cash and other resources for minimal return."

You don't have to get them to defect. You just have to get them to consume the product. If you don't think there were a lot of people at Barber this weekend that at least watch NASCAR occasionally you're completely out of touch with reality. There is such a thing as people that are just "race fans".

cartracer20

Ttomkat, I think you misunderstood. There were five drivers at the Fan Zone which is separate from the weekend autograph session which still features all IndyCar drivers.

The great access fans have to open-wheel racing is what got me hooked long ago! I remember almost being run down in the paddock by Oriol Servia on his scooter, and now he's my favorite driver (and I've learned to better watch and listen while in the paddock)!

pressdog

Sorry, Ttomkat. That's my fault. My wording was vague. I have tweaked it to be more clear. They did have the all-driver autograph session at Barber, but I think more drivers should also make other appearances at the fan zone during the weekend.

redcar

Maybe drivers should make house calls. If they do, send Simona to mine.

Jack

Indycar paddocks "safe"? I was almost squashed like an armadillo on a Texas highway by a Micheal Andretti-piloted scooter in the pits at Milwaukee last year. It was only my catlike reflexes that put two inches of malted barley & hops-scented air between me and the offending vehicle, saving me from almost certain death. Or at least a mild contusion.

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