SPEEDWAY, Ind. - The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 was a huge success, but now the question is how will Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials bring all those fans back next year?
Some critics say Sunday's race only did well, because it was a historic milestone. But IMS officials are fighting back, already preparing for the 101st race.
"The 100th was not the end of anything. The 100th is the beginning of what’s next," said Mark Miles, CEO Hulman & Company, told reporters during a press conference last week unveiling the logo for the 101st race.
IMS President Doug Boles added, "We’re going to do everything we can through the connections with the community, through our connections with our race fans to continue the momentum that we built for 100th into the 101st."
Boles also announced, last week, a hard push for ticket renewals.
"This year we are starting a program called Race to Renew."
Race fans have just 500 to renew or upgrade their seats. The clock started ticking at midnight.
Sports business expert Ken Ungar, President of U/S Sports Advisors, thinks fans will come back next year, as long as they enjoyed all the new amenities at the track and had a great experience this year.
"From the time they park, to security through the gate, having their ticket scanned, all the way to their seat," said Ungar.
He said if he could give IMS officials any advice, it would be to find ways to keep the race alive for the next 12 months.
"I think it’d be important to keep the 500 alive in June in July and all year round. Second thing is fresh ideas, fresh amenities, fresh events. Each year to bring something new, contemporary."
Even with the 100th running now in the history books, Boles said he wasn't going to get any sleep. The Indianapolis 500 team is already revving up for a big event next year.
"It is not an overnight sensation," said Miles. "We are very much looking forward to the 101st."