Stay On Track: Let's Play Two
About the most famous saying in baseball came from former Chicago Cubs star, Ernie Banks:
"It's a beautiful day for a ballgame...Let's play two!"
That's a heck of an idea Ernie, and it just might work in your home town.
The Chicagoland IndyCar race is not among the list of events that draws a full house. Before this year, fans were forced to purchase a season ticket package which drew some Nascar fans to the IICS race, and left other tickets unused or sold off cheap.
There wasn't a glut of these scalped single-event tickets last year. I searched for one, and that got the wheels turning on this idea.
Yes, the weather was unseasonably cold for the 2009 Chicago race. The start time was late. But the low attendance was not a one-year problem there, and it might not be any better now that the Nascar fans don't have to purchase tickets.
Here is this year's Chicagoland Speedway event schedule:
|Saturday, August 28, 2010|
|Indy Lights™ and IndyCar® Series|
|10:00 AM||Parking Lots Open|
|12:00 PM||Remaining Spectator Gates Open|
|12:00 PM||Pit Alley Open for Pit Pass holders|
|1:00 PM||Indy Lights Qualifying|
|4:15 PM||Chicagoland 100 Pre-Race|
|5:00 PM||Chicagoland 100 (67 laps, 100 miles)|
|6:00 PM||PEAK® Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 Pre-Race|
|7:00 PM||PEAK® Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 (200 laps, 300 miles)|
Times and events are subject to change. All times are Central.
The Nascar fans have their day Friday, when the ARCA and truck races are run. Saturday is for IndyCar. A 200 lap race, conserving fuel to run it on three pit stops. Small crowd, no buzz. Or.....
"It's a beautiful day at the Speedway...Let's run twice. The Peak Twin 200's at Chicagoland".
It's a day/ night double-header, only better. The Indy Light race runs in between while IICS teams prep their cars for the nightcap.
The same ticket gets you in all day: come for the opener, stay for the Lights race, catch a band in the parking lot, or just come for the IndyCar nightcap. Last year's race was 102 minutes.
The Twin 200's gets you two races, 1 hour 10 minutes each (approx). Each race still requires two pit stops, with no fuel conservation necessary.
Before the day there was an effort to build some "special events" into the schedule, and before there was any notion of doling out championship points any differently, an idea like this wouldn't fly. New ballgame.
The new schedule might look like this:
10:00 AM Parking Lots and Spectator Gates Open
11:00 AM Indy Lights Qualifying
12:00 PM Peak Motor Oil Indy 200 Pre-Race
1:00 PM Peak Motor Oil Indy 200 (Race #1), 134 laps, 201 miles.
(race ends 2:10 PM approx. Crew prep time for nitecap pre-race will be 4 hours)
4:15 PM Chicagoland 100 Indy Lights Pre-Race
5:00 PM Chicagoland 100 Indy Lights Race
6:10 PM Peak Antifreeze Indy 200 Pre-Race
7:10 PM Peak Antifreeze Indy 200 (Race #2), 134 laps, 201 miles.
Now, you can pick that idea apart any way you want. Wad your car up in the first race? Four hours to repair it or prep the T car. Your day isn't over, and you can still leave Chicago with some points.
Miss the setup? Redemption time. "Twin Peaks" too short? Make them 225's, that gets you close to 1 hr. 20 min. per race. That's still a two stop race, no fuel conservation necessary.
You'd rather run it like last year? No crowd for the Indy Lights. Maybe 30,000 for the 1 hr. 40 min. IndyCar race. Three stops, fuel conservation mode. DNF and you leave town empty-handed.
And the last year of the Chicagoland contract. Bye bye to another oval track.
Or, make it a whole new ballgame. Two, even.
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