20 IndyCar races per year would be “sweet spot” says Frye
After the IndyCar demonstration in Argentina “wildly exceeded expectations”, series president Jay Frye says he would like to add more venues to the schedule.
A delegation from Juncos Racing, IndyCar and Chevrolet went down to Argentina this month, for touring car legend Agustin Canapino to demonstrate an IndyCar during a promotional tour.
Frye told Motorsport.com the reception from the fans was “amazing”. He went on: “I would say, the best thing is, they got our attention. We appreciate everyone's interest and everybody that came out to watch that, the two things. Everything we saw was an amazing event.
“We worked with Ricardo [Juncos] on that, obviously, with Chevrolet, how's it gonna work, shipping – the technical competition part, the driver. So, obviously, we had been aware of how hard he worked on this for a long time to get this done.
“We don't know what to expect. So what we saw wildly exceeded expectations, there was lots of interest, lots of people. Again, we certainly appreciate everybody coming in checking it out. So, who knows? But I mean, that got our attention.
“Never say never. Again, it was, I think it was a really good thing for Ricardo going back, it was cool that he was able to do that back to his home. And like I mentioned, we didn't know what to expect, but whatever we expected, it exceeded it. It was awesome.”
Frye stated that IndyCar remains committed to seeking new venues, as well as establishing the ones already on the schedule.
“Sometimes there's X amount of tracks that are out there – less street courses, obviously, that's a whole different thing – where we can go. I mean, there's X amount of ovals. So we know what the options can be. Road courses, same way.
“Street courses, obviously, we get inquiries often from cities, but a street race is a pretty large commitment, shutting down streets – and there's a big capital expenditure. How can it work?
“We're trying to get date equity in our calendar, so we are basically in the same places year on year, so from a fan perspective they know that on this weekend, we're in St. Pete. We've done a really good job with that, but now we probably need to look at what's next.”
Frye believes that getting up to 20 should be the series’ goal, but like anyone in management, he is swift to iterate that he’s not intending to add venues just for the sake of reaching that figure.
“My personal opinion is, I've always thought 20 is kind of the sweet spot,” he said, “and we're at 17 right now. But… you don't add three just to add three; you add three that are great events. And you know, there's something around it, [an event]. Iowa was gone and then they came back, it has become now a big event. Awesome. So if we were to add an oval, so that that got us 18 races, we would want the oval to become a big event.
With Pato O’Ward set to remain in IndyCar at least until 2025, there have been increasing calls for the series to venture into Mexico once more, and take advantage of the huge enthusiasm for racing, particularly now that one of the series’ established aces has garnered a huge following.
“We're looking at lots of different things now,” said Frye. “There's often inquiries about Mexico, obviously, we go to Canada. You know, we want to remain as much of a North American series as we can, but the world is getting smaller, too, right? I mean, you know, with social media and all that type stuff, it's changed from 20 years ago. So, yeah, certainly we'll look at it.”
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