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May 21, 2014


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agree on all counts, particularly the Pippa approach. A bunch of us were at Fontana a few years back. There is Pippa cruising around the fan zone areas. We say "Hey Pippa" and she sits down and has lunch with us (or maybe she just chatted us up as we ate.) A friend brought his girlfriend whose first race was Vegas. Pippa gave her an apology, a hug and reassured her that there are better times to be had at races. Total class act. Many of the other drivers are cool like that, too...but Pippa takes it to a higher level.


The last few years, I've been admitted to Gasoline Alley after the race (about 45 min after the race). It's lacking drivers by then although one or two will slip by quickly. Last year Ana Beatriz stayed and was mingling well with fans.

But in 2010, Dan Wheldon (who had just finished 2nd place) was FANtastic! He stayed and stayed. Taking time with everyone, signing autographs, getting pictures taken with fans, even taking pictures of fans with their cameras. The sport could certainly use more of this type of fan/driver interaction. Much appreciated!


I was at the Grand Prix two weeks ago and Justin Wilson came out of his garage and chatted with the fans for 10 - 15 minutes. Class act and he gained a few fans that day...


Agree 100% but its always the same drivers. Pippa, GR, Ed, joe new, ect. That mingle with the fans. I'm not saying TK, Marco, Dario, Helio and Dixon don't, but its rare. Pippa is the gold standard If every driver and team owner should strive to do 1/3 of the stuff for fans she does, the sport would grow by leaps and bounds.

Ron Ford

I would only differ with the above comments to this degree: Adult fans at a track getting autographs are likely already fans of open wheel racing and probably have a favorite driver. The children can become lifelong fans if they have a good experience.

Drivers can twitter away until Hell freezes over and they will be preaching to the choir in a sense. It is not likely that will put people in the seats for a race.

At least two thirds of this country does not have an IndyCar race near enough for families to reasonably afford to attend. Many people will watch the Indy500 just like watching the Kentucky Derby, Wimbleton, and other major events just because of all the tradition and bells and whistles that go with the event. That will spike the almighty TV ratings. Will those same folks watch the other IndyCar races if there are no races to go to in their geographic area. Probably not.

Folks in New Hampshire, Baltimore, etc. who once had a race to go to, now probably mow their lawn or do something else when the race in Sonoma is on some obscure cable channel.

IMHO, the best thing IndyCar can do to create new fans is to adjust their business plan and operating expenses so they can lower their sanctioning fee. Then places like Road America, Phoenix, etc. could afford an IndyCar race. At this point in time IndyCar getting a major TV contract that involves revenue sharing is wishful thinking. For the most part, the degree of IndyCar driver interaction with fans is wonderful where they race, but that will not create fans where they don't race.

Tammy Kaehler

I have to tell you, I got a couple minutes with Pippa in the garage, and she was being pulled in three different directions at that moment (I let her go after some quick photos, though she was offering a few minutes to answer questions). She said to me, "you know, people think we're just sitting around in here, and simply not wanting to go outside and see fans. But really, we're going from one media interview or team/engineer meeting to another, all day." But she still makes time with the fans happen. Mad props to her!

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