Monday, August 22, 2016

Pocono delivers again -- spread the news

This photo was taken DURING the race. Wide open space ... sad.
As Ryan Hunter-Reay, Mikhail Aleshin, Carlos Munoz and Joseph Newgarden chased one another down the main straightaway once again in virtual lock step at speeds of some 215 miles per hour at Pocono Raceway Monday afternoon, I wanted to break out in song.

With all due respect to the late, great Frank Sinatra, my reworked version of his iconic “New York, New York” would start out something like this:

Start spreadin’ the news,
I’m watchin’ today,
I want to be a part of it,
Long Pond, Long Pond.

Corny, yeah. But true.

A very small percentage of the originally expected crowd elected to stick around for the third Monday main event of the 2016 Pocono season. Chances are they weren’t sitting in front of their television sets and glued to the NBC Sports Network feed, either.

That was their loss.

The guys from the Verizon IndyCar Series put on a great show again, with Will Power producing Roger Penske’s ninth win on the Long Pond tri-oval.

Sure, it would be nice on a big track like Pocono to have a field of more than 22 cars, but it’s not always necessary to have the numbers.

It’s all about competition, and in that department, IndyCar is delivering.

Nine different drivers led, and the lead changed hands 29 times. It was a lightning quick event, too, taking just 2 hours, 46 minutes and 29 seconds, thanks to only four cautions for a total of 20 laps. The average speed was 180.198 miles per hour.

I was told that the ticket presale was going pretty well – until people began looking at long-range weather forecasts. As the prediction of rain persisted over a two-week period, sales dried up.

Now, the question is, how does the word get out so that the 2017 and 2018 events, which were announced within the past two weeks, turn the corner? Pocono certainly took a bath on this one. What are the odds of two NASCAR events and an IndyCar race ALL having to run on Mondays in the same year?

Back in May, when people turned out in almost historic numbers for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, the IndyCar crowd was talking about how that race was going to have a positive impact on the rest of the series.

I don’t see that happening. It certainly didn’t happen in the Pocono Mountains this week, even though the Pocono management has taken a bold step with its ticket pricing.

For me, these are still the only real race cars out there. The drivers in the series seem to be more fan-friendly than they have been in many other years, too.

The racing is terrific.

Watch for some sort of replay of the ABC Supply 500. Maybe it’ll get you singing, too.


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