Hot Laps Michigan Edition
June 13, 2010 | 8:49 A.M. EST
Sunday's Helluva Good! Sour Cream Dip 400 drew a larger crowd than last year's June race with an estimated attendance of nearly 100,000 turning out in the Irish Hills.
Were there empty seats in the grandstands? Yes there were. But that is not an indictment at all on the track or the fans of this area by any means.
Considering what's going on...hell forget that. Take the economy out of the equation and tell me what professional sport wouldn't take 100,000 paying customers in this day and age?
The truth of the matter is that every sport - including the mighty NFL - has suffered a downturn of some kind in the last few years in terms of ticket sales. The NBA just completed a regular season that was played to lesser capacities in a number of arenas. Major League Baseball is in the middle of a schedule that has seen significantly less people through the turn styles than last.
NASCAR has not been immune to that trend but business has been picking up lately. The turn of the financial picture is helping but so are the track operators who keep doing whatever possible to help fans find a way to the speedway.
Michigan made some major improvements in the off-season including the installation of wider and more comfortable seats and the upgrade of acres of camping areas that surround the facility.
On a personal level a brand new media center made its debut this weekend and it has quickly shot to the top of the list of places guys like me get to work on the circuit. In the not too distant future new garages will be in place for the competitors with speedway officials promising more improvements for the track coming.
Lower ticket prices, more entertainment value for the price of those tickets and an overall enhanced experience were also part of the weekend which no doubt added up to the stellar turnout.
It's a great site to see and one that I hope will continue in the same direction for years to come.