Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

May 16, 2014

Bowman: Mixed feelings about Grand Prix of Indianapolis

The race is a welcome addition, but the timing isn't ideal

Growing up in Indiana, aside from basketball, racing is the state’s passion and during the month of May, Hoosiers’ love for auto racing is on full display.

That’s why I approached the recently completed Grand Prix of Indianapolis with mixed emotions.

Having spent time around folks who own and/or operate a race track, the fact of the matter is simply, to make money. If race tracks aren’t making money, then sadly they either shut down or change hands. The thing is when a track does close, it seems that if it sits idle for any period of time, chances are it won’t re-open due to ordinances, etc.

As great as it is, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is just like any other track — it has bills to pay. It was a shame to see as nice of a facility like IMS sit idle for months on end, especially after putting in the road course for Formula One years ago. There were many times I asked other race fans if there was any reason they knew of why the IndyCar Series or NASCAR couldn’t use the road course? Granted, to be frank, NASCAR at Indy on the oval typically is not the most entertaining race on the calendar each year so maybe the road course would pack a little more punch.

When I read that IndyCar was planning on utilizing the road course, I was excited. My thinking was that it was gonna be cool to see the drivers navigating around the 14-turn course and driving the wrong direction down the front stretch.

My thinking was it would be another date to earmark during the summer and make plans to head south for another race. I never envisioned that it would be run during the month of May, much less prior to the biggest race on the series’ schedule.

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