Mark Miles declares belief in Boston 2016; Mexico possible for 2017

CEO of IndyCar parent Hulman & Company refutes recent reports that the Grand Prix of Boston’s prospect are looking shaky

Mark Miles has moved to quell the doubts surrounding the inaugural Grand Prix of Boston and says he has high hopes for the event which he describes as having “terrific attributes” for IndyCar.

“We are delighted to add Boston to the schedule, particularly on Labor Day Weekend, when we get down to crunch time for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship,” said Hulman & Company CEO addressing the media today. “Our strategy has been to add major markets to the schedule and obviously Boston is seventh biggest in the country. Approaching 200,000 students return to Boston around Labor Day, so I know our promoter will be making a special effort to get to them, to turn eager college students into IndyCar fans.

“We’re also pleased with the commercial progress they’re making. They’ve signed a presenting sponsor [LogMeIn, Inc.] and that puts them in good stead as they start to pull together all the financial underpinning for the event and find promotional partners.

“We have read some of the [negative] reports that pretty much seem to be coming from one source in Boston, and they just don’t square with our understanding. We understand from the city’s administration and our promoter that the agreements are in place and there aren’t local impediments to doing the race there.

“Look, there’s no big city where a street race might not create objections on the part of some people, but care has been taken to minimize any inconvenience in Boston, and I believe the city is going to embrace it and it’s going to be a very successful event.”

Following CFH Racing’s recent test at Gateway Motorsports Park oval in Illinois, which last held an Indy car race in 2003, Miles admitted that there were “encouraging” signs that it could appear on the 2017 schedule. Addressing similar rumors regarding a return to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, he added: “It certainly appears the spirits are willing, but we’ve learned that patience is best, and there’s no point in rushing a promoter.

“We want to make sure that any time we have an event, we’ve given promoters the chance to ensure it’s a great IndyCar event and so we felt it’s better to take time to ensure that everything is properly in place. It’s a good open dialogue, it’s possible the race could happen in 2017, but we both felt it would be better to take our time and get it right rather than be hasty.”

Television considerations

Miles said that the main reason for the delay in releasing the 2016 IndyCar calendar was to set in stone a TV schedule that would “continue the momentum we’ve shown for the past two seasons.”

He said: “It’s been a key focus of ours to work with our broadcast partners and go into the details of the schedule to make ourselves as available as possible to the largest audience.

“In 2015 there were five scheduling conflicts with NASCAR, next year there will be four, and each time there is one less, I think that’s great for fans. And we’re programing them in a way that is complementary. There are three races that come right after NASCAR on NBCSN, and I think we will continue to see the big increases in average rating and average viewership that we saw in 2015.

“August is challenging because of the Olympics, but Pocono is scheduled at a time just past the last [Olympic] event NBC will cover but prior to the closing ceremonies. That’s kinda threading the needle but hopefully that will help us with the television audience.

“Sonoma is 7pm ET, compared with 4pm in 2015. That puts it into prime time and also comes right after NASCAR at Chicagoland. And it falls between NFL coverage in the afternoon and Sunday night football. So this represents a tremendous collaboration with our friends at NBC Sports Network.”

For the full calendar and broadcast schedule, click here.

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