Fans relax in the second turn at the Milwaukee Mile as Josef Newgarden speeds by. [John Wiedemann Photo]
Milwaukee IndyFest: Ferris Wheels, Rock 'n Roll and Race Cars!
by John Atlas
WEST ALLIS, WI: The Andretti Marketing Group, new IndyCar promoters at the historic Milwaukee Mile, are hoping that a wide variety of activities will bring will bring renewed interest, and a decent crowd, to the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds this weekend.
On Friday, the Mile is offering FREE grandstand admission for IndyCar practice and qualifying, as well as the Firestone Indy Lights 100 mile race. However, if you want to enter the infield "fun zone", where a zip line, a real Ferris Wheel, live music and other cool activities are available, that will be $26, please.
If this marketing tactic results in a good crowd for Saturday's Milwaukee IndyFest 225, the Andretti Group should be considered for "promoter of the year". However, the idea of making IndyFest the "main event", with the actual race cars being reduced to "sideshow status", is a little hard to accept. Everyone in the sport knows of the problems that the Milwaukee Mile has encountered in recent years putting butts in the seats, and that it was high time to try a new strategy.
Maybe this is the winning formula as IndyCar racing struggles to compete for today's entertainment dollar. All this reporter knows for sure is this: when we first came to the Milwaukee Mile as a nine year old in 1956, the race cars were the main show; there was no zip line, and the ferris wheel was in the State Fair Midway where it belonged!
And everybody had a good time.