IMS deems second Grand Prix ‘a success’; will return

Will Power

INDIANAPOLIS — The threat of storms led IMS officials to warn fans before Saturday’s Grand Prix, even inviting them at one point to leave the stands.

A little bit of inclement weather could not wash away fans’ excitement, even among a much smaller crowd at IMS than the Indianapolis 500 will draw later this month.

IMS President Doug Boles still deemed the Angie’s List Grand Prix a success.

“I think the idea, and really the reason the race came, was to really elevate the month of May (and) to get the month of May kicked off in a really exciting way. I think this event absolutely does that,” Boles said.

Boles was not willing to release ticket sale figures or attendance, but said the road course race that is now in its second year, would likely continue.

“No, we’ve never really released figures. We are a privately-owned company and it’s not one of the things that we’ve done. I can just tell you from the fan feedback, it’s been very positive. The mounds were as full as they were last year if not fuller,” Boles said. “We are not judging ourselves on whether or not we can fill the venue. I think it’s an exciting way to kick the month of May off, it absolutely does that.”

Racing fans interviewed by 24-Hour News 8 seemed pleased with race and enjoyed the smaller crowd.

“The (Indianapolis) 500 has all these stands full. This is a little bit more casual, more laid back. And it’s relaxed, I like it,” said Tim LeMasters, who brought his children to the race. “You don’t have to fight the crowd or the drunks if you will.”

Kendra Wenzel, who was in her second year working as a food vendor at the Grand Prix, said she believed her sales of burgers and pork tenderloin sandwiches eclipsed last year.

“I love it. The customer service, I really enjoy it,” she said.

Boles attributed the increased ticket sales at the Indianapolis 500 in part to the Grand Prix.

“We know that our Indy 500 ticket sales are up and continue to be up and I think a lot of that is because of the excitement generated at the beginning of May because of the Angie’s List Grand Prix,” Boles said. “We are always trying to make it better. We heard some issues (today) related to the video board and content that fans would like to see. There’s always stuff to improve on, we are always trying to make it better.

“I think it’s one that you are going to continue to see here in Indianapolis,” he said.

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