Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Updated: July 6, 7:09 PM ET
IMS to add three races in 2012
By David Newton
Indianapolis Motor Speedway will add Nationwide and Grand-Am Rolex Series races to its Sprint Cup weekend in 2012.
NASCAR, Grand-Am and the speedway announced the "Super Weekend" on Wednesday.
Grand-Am will debut road events for its Rolex Sports Car and Continental Series on July 27. The Nationwide Series will debut at the Speedway on July 28, and the Brickyard 400 will be July 29. It will be the first time that IMS will have road and oval races during the same weekend.
IMS officials told ESPN.com last month that they were looking to add the two events -- the three-hour Grand-Am race to be held Friday afternoon, and the Nationwide race Saturday afternoon -- to give the fans added value for the weekend.
The Nationwide race will move from its longtime home at Lucas Oil Raceway. The Truck Series is expected to remain at LOR, likely on Friday night.
Doug Boles, director of public relations at IMS, said last month that the track needs more than one event to give fans more value for their ticket.
"We are the only event on the series schedule that has one event on a race weekend," Boles said last month. "Friday, the Cup cars have two hours on the track. All we get on Saturday is qualifying and the final practice. If you look at the entire on-track schedule, it's just not a lot of content.
"That's the biggest challenge, how do we add value to our fans?"
If the NASCAR and IndyCar schedules around the Brickyard weekend stay the same in 2012, the IndyCar drivers would have a weekend off. Boles said last month the hope would be to attract some of them to the Grand-Am event and sell more tickets for a weekend that has struggled in past years.
A report in May said sales for the July 31 Cup race are lagging behind last year, when 140,000 spectators reportedly attended, nearly half of the 270,000 that were at the race in 2007.
"If you're trying to figure out how to spend dollars in the summer, it helps to make this event more attractive," Boles said of adding events. "You can camp and stay in one location and see two or three events."
When the Sprint Cup Series first went to Indianapolis Speedway in 1994, Michigan was the only track within a two- to five-hour drive in competition for ticket sales. Chicagoland was added to the schedule in 2001, and Kentucky Motor Speedway will be added this year.
Also, the IROC series initially was held at IMS during the Cup weekend.
"The market is more competitive to the extent we have to offer fans more value, a lot more on-track activity," Boles said.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.