People are funny in that they always want to point out the negative side of anything anyone else has done. Nowhere is that attitude more prevalent than in the coverage of motorsports events. This past weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto was by no means an exception to this. Sometimes I think that some people want to see the event fail. From what I saw, the event is well on pace to have a revival of its glory days.
Part of what made the old Molson Indy such a huge part of the Toronto summer scene was the fact that there were all kinds of events that drew the public in and got them wrapped up in the hype. This year, organizer Charlie Johnstone’s team planned a full schedule of fun functions around the city in the weeks leading up to race weekend. These activities were capped off with free admission on Friday to re-introduce Toronto to the Indy.
Bearing in mind that the Honda Indy Toronto does not share attendance figures, we have to go by what we see in the stands. It appeared to me that Friday was busier than Sunday last year, even though I heard more than a few media types whining about how empty the place was. In the photo gallery below, you’ll see a photo of the gold grandstands behind the pits on raceday. The most expensive seats in the house and they were full. The giant Hooters and Budweiser patios were absolutely jam packed with people and there was a buzz of excitement in the air. People were having a great time!
All the pre race events build buzz, but let’s face it, fans and media alike head to Toronto’s waterfront to see some racing and the racing was incredible. From the exciting door to door racing of the SCCA World Challenge and Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship to the excitement of the young lions of Indy Lights, the racing truly was fast and furious. The NASCAR Canadian Touring Car series had the fans cheering wildly as they slithered their way around each corner, with every car getting sideways at just about every corner. The IndyCar feature is always good to wind up the spectators and with four full course cautions in the first 20 or so laps, the fans got to see their share of adrenalin induced battles on track.
This is year 2 of a 5 year plan to restore the Indy to its former glory and the planning team is well on their way. Was it perfect? Obviously not. There was a few hiccups in the media room over the weekend and their is still some animosity among fans and media about $8.50 beers and scarce water, but other than that I saw a well run event. From a media standpoint, if we complained about something, it was mostly rectified by the next morning, as the crew found a way to solve the problem.
Overall, the 2010 running of the Indy in Toronto was the best edition in years. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring as they move towards the end of their 5 year plan.