Last season, IndyCar returned to Auto Club Speedway after a 7 year absence and the race was one to remember. With the championship battle between Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay coming down to the very end despite Power crashing early in the race and repairing his car to pick up 1 position so Hunter-Reay would have to finish another position higher to claim the title and that is what he did. It was a championship battle for the ages and the battle for the race win was just as exciting. With Alex Tagliani, Ed Carpenter, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon all battling for the race win in the late stages of the race, it was worth every penny.
Auto Club Speedway has always produced great racing as far as Indy Cars are concerned. Whether it being the take your breath away 850+ Horsepower cars of the CART era or the new Dallara DW-12 cars, the on track product is as good as it gets for open wheel racing. The record for lead changes in an Indy Car race was set at Auto Club Speedway in 2001 with 73. “We’re not shy about saying that this track was built for open wheel racing,” said Matt Paye, SR Director of Promotions for Auto Club Speedway.
This season, Auto Club Speedway has beefed up the promotion for the MAVTV 500 a bit and is committed to making this a successful venture for this season and beyond. In addition to airing commercials throughout the season, the track is trying some new things to promote the race. In addition to traditional media things like radio, outdoor, print and online advertising, Auto Club Speedway has launched a new program where fans can earn points that can be redeemed towards race tickets and other prizes. That particular contest is being promoted on the track’s Facebook page and Twitter account. “We’re trying to create more and more in the social community and trying to leverage the viral nature of social media,” Paye says.
Another thing that makes the MAVTV 500 attractive to consumers is the value. With ticket prices starting at $30 for general admission seating, and kids 12 and under being free, you really can’t go wrong with it. Another great value option that was available last season that is returning is the Double Up Package which gets you 2 tickets, 2 paddock passes and a scanner and 2 headphones for $89.
Although it won’t be known until the day of the race, Paye is optimistic about ticket sales. “We are a very late buying market, but right now we are trending at or better than what we were last year,” says Paye. “There are areas where we have seen substantial growth, but it is still too early to tell because the bulk of our advertising and promotions will kick off in larger scale soon but the leading indicators have all been positive.”
In addition to the big event on Saturday night, there will more on track activity this year. Both the Firestone Indy Lights and IZOD IndyCar Series drivers will be holding autograph sessions. Vintage open wheel cars will take some laps, showcasing various eras of racing. Also, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series will be running their race on Sunday and Monday and will take some demonstration laps on the oval as well. Also before the race, the Metal Militia Motorcross will be performing stunts and the Crown Karting Enduro Challenge will be running a race in the parking lot of the speedway.
Beyond this year, Auto Club Speedway wants to grow and according to Paye, has a very realistic attitude on making this race successful. “It’s going to take some to educate the market, get people knowing what to expect, when to expect things to happen. We expect to see some good growth in this year’s event and expect to see it grow over time as well.”
Click here to buy tickets for the MAVTV 500. The race weekend is October 18th-19th.