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Thread: Save the Mile update

  1. #31
    Registered User Boweimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mearsfan53081 View Post
    It is sad, but Milwaukee wasn't victim of the split. As late as 2009, they drew 30k....which is really about What milwaukee always drew.
    I live in Detroit & I agree the Detroit GP shouldn’t follow Indy, but it definitely belongs on the schedule. I don’t understand why it gets so much hate.

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by LowRyter View Post
    Another victim of the split and broken schedule continuity. Run a race at the same date for 60 years and change it all and wonder what happened.

    Maybe this wasn't the complete death knell but it sure as heck didn't help.
    It had the same date under CART but the split started the ball rolling. When it returned to that traditional weekend after Indy in the merged series, the damage was already well done. The culture of auto racing today also isn't as strong as it was 20 years ago so that also explains why the attendance suffered as well.

  3. #33
    Sulli from f(x) Hitokiri's Avatar
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    Without free tickets to promote the race (free tickets were given out to employees of various companies around Milwaukee or were given by Marlboro back in the day) and a date after Indy - there is very little chance that Milwaukee can ever be a long term viable place for Indycar to race. I've said this many times but what The Mile needs is the date after Indy and a reason for out of state fans to come to the place. Road America is different - people love to go there because there are many things to do and explore. The Mile is great but it's basically a mile oval track in the middle of the city.

    I've lived in Milwaukee for many years and its obvious to me that the local folks don't give a crap for the track. They love the fair grounds but not the track. They could care less for it even with loud cars zooming around which you could hear from miles around the track. Milwaukee is more of a Brewers and Bucks place. Racing might have been extremely popular before but not no more.

    If you want real race fans the closest you'll get is Great Lake Dragaway which is about 30 mins outside the city. Now that place is fun.
    "The only good horsepower is usable horsepower.."

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Spike View Post
    Agreed. After all, can we blame the Milwaukee Fair Board for the poor attendance at Phoenix, Fontana, and other tracks that have featured veritable seas of aluminum?

    They, however, will play for you.





    The Milwaukee miles is/was kind of famous, too. Enduring, and thriving, takes more than just fame.
    Horse pulls

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Hitokiri View Post
    If you want real race fans the closest you'll get is Great Lake Dragaway which is about 30 mins outside the city. Now that place is fun.
    I assume the existence of Road America slipped your mind.

  6. #36
    Sulli from f(x) Hitokiri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullwinkle View Post
    I assume the existence of Road America slipped your mind.
    No. When I said "closest" I meant distance wise but even if we were talking about the fandom I would argue the fans at Great Lakes are just as hyped even though the experience may be different.

  7. #37
    I will always maintain it was a massive lack of advertising. The year Milwaukee returned, I heard zero advertisements for the race. I asked several people that I knew were race fans (non IndyCar) if they heard or saw any and they saw none. Some actually said they thought all racing at the Mile was done. Fast forward to spring of 2016 and you couldn't go a day without hearing about IndyCar coming to Road America. It was straight up everywhere. It was on the radio station everyday that plays the NASCAR races. It was on TV constantly on programs besides just IndyCar broadcasts. It was always popping up on my internet. It was everywhere. I had to have seen it hundreds of times and I'm sure others experienced the same. Look at the turn out they got. I'm not exaggerating when I say there were zero Milwaukee ads in my area.

    Let me talk about my area. I live to the west of Milwaukee. I'm in the center of a radius that has 6 short tracks. These tracks all do pretty well and they've hosted various major national events over the years. The tracks are Slinger Speedway, Madison International Raceway, Angel Speedway Park, Beaver Dam Raceway, Dodge County Fairgrounds, and Jefferson Speedway. We get the big names in the short track racing scene showing up fairly frequently in this area and it's a packed house typically. It's the heart of oval racing in WI. I live nearly right in the middle of it, maybe 45 minutes away from the Milwaukee Mile. Maybe Andretti advertised in Milwaukee like he said, but the heart of racing fans not far west of Milwaukee saw none. And it continued like that every year until the race came to an end. I have no doubt in my mind that a lack of advertising was one of the main failures in the situation. Then combine constant date changes, the late starts, and the idiotic decision to replace the infield tailgating with a fair ride and call it IndyFest. This race never had a chance.

    Add in the DW12 not really putting on a good show at Milwaukee and this race was doomed. Besides Bourdais kicking everyone's ass in 2015, the DW12 era Milwaukee races were fairly uneventful. I thought IndyCar dropped the ball by continuing to run the mid level boost at Milwaukee. Road America and Gateway have proved it's not that people don't care about IndyCar enough.

  8. #38
    What type of luddite "packs" these short tracks but is unaware of Indycar?

  9. #39
    500 History Buff! Pelican Joe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PPGfan View Post
    I will always maintain it was a massive lack of advertising. The year Milwaukee returned, I heard zero advertisements for the race. I asked several people that I knew were race fans (non IndyCar) if they heard or saw any and they saw none. Some actually said they thought all racing at the Mile was done. Fast forward to spring of 2016 and you couldn't go a day without hearing about IndyCar coming to Road America. It was straight up everywhere. It was on the radio station everyday that plays the NASCAR races. It was on TV constantly on programs besides just IndyCar broadcasts. It was always popping up on my internet. It was everywhere. I had to have seen it hundreds of times and I'm sure others experienced the same. Look at the turn out they got. I'm not exaggerating when I say there were zero Milwaukee ads in my area.

    Let me talk about my area. I live to the west of Milwaukee. I'm in the center of a radius that has 6 short tracks. These tracks all do pretty well and they've hosted various major national events over the years. The tracks are Slinger Speedway, Madison International Raceway, Angel Speedway Park, Beaver Dam Raceway, Dodge County Fairgrounds, and Jefferson Speedway. We get the big names in the short track racing scene showing up fairly frequently in this area and it's a packed house typically. It's the heart of oval racing in WI. I live nearly right in the middle of it, maybe 45 minutes away from the Milwaukee Mile. Maybe Andretti advertised in Milwaukee like he said, but the heart of racing fans not far west of Milwaukee saw none. And it continued like that every year until the race came to an end. I have no doubt in my mind that a lack of advertising was one of the main failures in the situation. Then combine constant date changes, the late starts, and the idiotic decision to replace the infield tailgating with a fair ride and call it IndyFest. This race never had a chance.

    Add in the DW12 not really putting on a good show at Milwaukee and this race was doomed. Besides Bourdais kicking everyone's ass in 2015, the DW12 era Milwaukee races were fairly uneventful. I thought IndyCar dropped the ball by continuing to run the mid level boost at Milwaukee. Road America and Gateway have proved it's not that people don't care about IndyCar enough.
    Correct on the lack of advertising. I live in Greendale, which is a suburb of Milwaukee and about 7 miles from THE Mile. There was not much done to promote the race within Milwaukee the last several years and if you were not a fan - honestly - you wouldn't have known there was a race. It was pathetic. People in Milwaukee like coming out for a good time. We pack Miller Park in summer. We host the world's largest multi-day music festival. I don't have the answer to this, but I have to think there was a way to tap into that...but when people don't know what it is (not to mention they don't know what IndyCar is) it gets to be a tough sell and when you price it out of the casual fan's range - it's going to fail. I saw the "return" of the race as a multi-year affair: they had to reintroduce people to the track and the series and that meant doing whatever it took to get people in the stands: cheap tickets, TONS of promotion. It would have meant losing money the first couple of years - but if done right - maybe you build a solid base of fans who come back year in and year out?
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  10. #40
    500 History Buff! Pelican Joe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenderless View Post
    What type of luddite "packs" these short tracks but is unaware of Indycar?
    They're aware of IndyCar...but not willing to spend the kind of money it took to attend Milwaukee. We sit high in the NW Vista at Indy and spend just a tick over $100 a ticket (which is actually a steal). Price for a good ticket at Milwaukee was way out of whack. It was as expensive for us to attend that race as it was Indy. Okay, I get it - attending a sporting even isn't cheap these days - but you have to have a balance. You have to provide something more entry level for the casual fan. It's been mentioned numerous times, but killing off the infield was a massive mistake. The thinking was that it would draw people to the stands, but it drew them away from the trace. A lot of the people we'd spend the day with were not even IndyCar fans: they were people from the neighborhood who came out for something fun to do. Those same people are not going to drop $75 to sit in the bleachers.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelican Joe View Post
    Correct on the lack of advertising. I live in Greendale, which is a suburb of Milwaukee and about 7 miles from THE Mile. There was not much done to promote the race within Milwaukee the last several years and if you were not a fan - honestly - you wouldn't have known there was a race. It was pathetic. People in Milwaukee like coming out for a good time. We pack Miller Park in summer. We host the world's largest multi-day music festival. I don't have the answer to this, but I have to think there was a way to tap into that...but when people don't know what it is (not to mention they don't know what IndyCar is) it gets to be a tough sell and when you price it out of the casual fan's range - it's going to fail. I saw the "return" of the race as a multi-year affair: they had to reintroduce people to the track and the series and that meant doing whatever it took to get people in the stands: cheap tickets, TONS of promotion. It would have meant losing money the first couple of years - but if done right - maybe you build a solid base of fans who come back year in and year out?
    Zero advertising towards Madison, but a bunch for Road America - same with sports talk radio. I don’t listen to much anymore but the local show was giving away tickets when I did and RA was definitely a topic of conversation. Wasn’t the case for the mile - and I listened more in the past.

    It is definitely a stock car area, but even with fewer dates, Angell Park does well with open wheel. But, yeah, the prices were really high at the mile for a pretty short race.
    Eff LBD!

  12. #42
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    I went to the Milwaukee Indy Fest from 2012-2015 doing my part to support it. But I have had similar experiences as others have described. My first year we brought two cars and 8 people, by the last year it was just my brother and I.

    It's sad, I loved the racing at the Mile, but it's gone forever, just like Nazareth. It's time to let it go.
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  13. #43
    Retired irloyal's Avatar
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    Milwaukee was a "Golden Age of Motorsports" track. The place was hugely popular back when:
    1 - There wasn't every "Big League" race on TV so you had to attend the event to see the event.
    2 - There were some local hero's who raced the mile (mostly stock cars), and there was local connections like Duanne Sweeny flagging the vents.
    3 - You didn't have to have everybody equal so anybody could win. It was back in the day when motor sports were appreciated for brave competitors and mechanical innovations.
    4 - There were people who actually cared about racing within the management of State Fair Park. They worked hard to get the events integrated with the fair. They had special entrances for "RACE ONLY" where you could park in the infield and pay for only the race. They also had combo tickets where you could pay for a day at the fair and get a discount for the race.

    Those days are gone. The oldtimer fans are dying. The Gen-X and Millennials don't provide enough of a fan base and the management doesn't see any advantage to a fair day race since it "difficult" logistically.

    My guess is the State will be auctioning off race track memoriabilia in a few years for $$$'s to fund the fair.
    ...Always follow the money

  14. #44
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    Journal Sentinel today:

    Without a major auto race, Milwaukee Mile's future shadows Wisconsin State Fair Park

    https://jsonl.in/2EIGlxm

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstove View Post
    Journal Sentinel today:

    Without a major auto race, Milwaukee Mile's future shadows Wisconsin State Fair Park

    https://jsonl.in/2EIGlxm
    Well, that article made it sound like we could see racing there again someday. I'm happy to read that as I had written the place off. Hopefully someone takes another swing at it.

  16. #46
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    I think the one positive for the Mile is that it would likely cost more money to tear it down and turn it into something new compared to using it as it is.

    I do think the days of holding major auto races there are gone. It's hard to compete with Road America when the track creates so much more value compared to what I experienced at the Mile.

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikemat5150 View Post
    I think the one positive for the Mile is that it would likely cost more money to tear it down and turn it into something new compared to using it as it is.

    I do think the days of holding major auto races there are gone. It's hard to compete with Road America when the track creates so much more value compared to what I experienced at the Mile.
    I don't believe that's totally accurate, they can co-exist. As I've said, the issue remains the state board. They've been unwilling to invest on improvements, looking to pass that onto the promoter. But that is ridiculous, because the promoter cannot profit from anything BUT said major auto race to make up for that. They cannot have it both ways, and this is the dead end. Either they pay for debt and improvements and then get someone to physically promote, or they allow promoter full use of the track, which won't happen.
    "If your car was a dog, then you had to figure it out and test your own limits. And we didn't go to a wind tunnel – we did it in the first turn at Indianapolis."

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikemat5150 View Post
    I think the one positive for the Mile is that it would likely cost more money to tear it down and turn it into something new compared to using it as it is.
    Yeah, that was a pretty good takeaway from the JS article.

  19. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Hitokiri View Post
    No. When I said "closest" I meant distance wise but even if we were talking about the fandom I would argue the fans at Great Lakes are just as hyped even though the experience may be different.
    I was thinking more along the lines of similarity in crowd composition. Not just mileage. I would presume that Road America crowds are more similar to the crowd at the Mile than Great Lakes Dragaway crowds.

  20. #50
    Have to respect West Allis's take that they are for the track running, but if it's isn't going room be a track make it something else...just wasted land as it is.

    Going to take alot of money to tear it down, and in this current economic and political climate in Wisconsin I see that chance at pretty close to zero...so in the meantime it'll just sit underused.

    That being said there are a few club uses going on there, Miller's at the Mile, scca track night in America and Midwest council have races there...come on out.

  21. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzlor View Post
    I don't believe that's totally accurate, they can co-exist. As I've said, the issue remains the state board. They've been unwilling to invest on improvements, looking to pass that onto the promoter. But that is ridiculous, because the promoter cannot profit from anything BUT said major auto race to make up for that. They cannot have it both ways, and this is the dead end. Either they pay for debt and improvements and then get someone to physically promote, or they allow promoter full use of the track, which won't happen.
    Full disclosure 1: I have not read the audit report.
    Full disclosure 2: I was involved in a minor way with several of the "Indycar" races at the track.

    The issue right now is that the costs an "auto race" promoter would incur to bring back auto racing to the Milwaukee Mile CANNOT be paid on the basis of revenue from the auto race alone. Once some improvements are made, then a promoter could possibly make a little money on each race, but the margin of error is small and something like bad weather could derail things.

    So what's not going to happen is a promoter like Andretti or Green-Savoree coming in to promote one race per year in the facility.

    DOES THAT MEAN THAT RACING AT THE MILE IS DEAD? NO.

    I know people in the promotions business who have run some numbers on this and there is a path if the State Fair Board wants to follow it: One Promoter for all events at the Mile and the Main Stage. If the racing events are part of a year-long calendar of events under the auspices of one promoter, then the investments and maintenance of the place looks financially feasible. And you can begin to nurture a fan base for the place that might be interested in Auto Racing, Concerts, Auto Shows, Monster Trucks, Snowmobile Racing, Motocross, GRC, etc. And you might get a name sponsor for the place to leverage the sponsor ship across all events, such as the Mendard's Milwaukee Mile.

    But so far, the state fair board has been loathe to go back to that model.

    The good news is that the place would be too expensive to rip up.

  22. #52
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNuwRcZP4LE

    Yeah, it was another time and era...ignoring that the grandstands were much smaller back then...
    Look at how packed the infield was.
    The last couple of races under CART and IRL sanction you can see how different the atmosphere was compared to back then.

  23. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by irloyal View Post
    Milwaukee was a "Golden Age of Motorsports" track. The place was hugely popular back when:
    1 - There wasn't every "Big League" race on TV so you had to attend the event to see the event.
    2 - There were some local hero's who raced the mile (mostly stock cars), and there was local connections like Duanne Sweeny flagging the vents.
    3 - You didn't have to have everybody equal so anybody could win. It was back in the day when motor sports were appreciated for brave competitors and mechanical innovations.
    4 - There were people who actually cared about racing within the management of State Fair Park. They worked hard to get the events integrated with the fair. They had special entrances for "RACE ONLY" where you could park in the infield and pay for only the race. They also had combo tickets where you could pay for a day at the fair and get a discount for the race.

    Those days are gone. The oldtimer fans are dying. The Gen-X and Millennials don't provide enough of a fan base and the management doesn't see any advantage to a fair day race since it "difficult" logistically.

    My guess is the State will be auctioning off race track memoriabilia in a few years for $$$'s to fund the fair.
    Yeah, unfortunately, there are probably only a few events on the Indycar schedule that can withstand the test of time. The Indy 500 would be one along with the Long Beach Grand Prix. Even races like Road America which was seen a resurgence recently was left off the schedule for a while because the crowds went away. It had to be absent for a while in order to build up the demand not to mention the Xfinity races were a poor substitute.

  24. #54
    Sulli from f(x) Hitokiri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAindycarfan80 View Post
    Even races like Road America which was seen a resurgence recently was left off the schedule for a while because the crowds went away. It had to be absent for a while in order to build up the demand not to mention the Xfinity races were a poor substitute.
    Actually I think it had to do more the sanctioning fee and the lack of an event sponsor that kept Indycar from coming back. For years Champ Car raced at Road America and gave them a discount on the sanctioning fee but when a reunified Indycar Series disallowed this that's when things turned sour. It wasn't for the lack of fans or interest (I went to the last race before reunification and it still had a good crowd) but was more financial then anything.

    Sorry for being picky but I love Road America and just wanted to clear things up. :P

  25. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Hitokiri View Post
    Actually I think it had to do more the sanctioning fee and the lack of an event sponsor that kept Indycar from coming back. For years Champ Car raced at Road America and gave them a discount on the sanctioning fee but when a reunified Indycar Series disallowed this that's when things turned sour. It wasn't for the lack of fans or interest (I went to the last race before reunification and it still had a good crowd) but was more financial then anything.

    Sorry for being picky but I love Road America and just wanted to clear things up. :P
    I agree with you. There were a bunch of business issues between the IRL and Road America, and it took Jay Frye and Derrick Walker to smooth things over. It seems to be one of those cases where the "new regime" at Indycar is easier to deal with and more open to creative business solutions than the old regime.

    And I don't think any of this has anything to do with Milwaukee.

  26. #56
    Registered User NaBUru38's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aeron View Post
    The Milwaukee mile is in the middle of a large residential area. I can't imagine those neighbors would excited about turning the mile into a professional racing facility
    It's been one for a century...

  27. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by NaBUru38 View Post
    It's been one for a century...
    *over a century

  28. #58
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    Who's the closest person in spirit (and wealth) to Tony Hulman in Wisconsin? The worst part about probably losing that track for good; i.e., razed and used for something else, is the complete disregard for its place in history. It's a real shame.
    Supporting Indy Car racing since 1959

  29. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Defender View Post
    Who's the closest person in spirit (and wealth) to Tony Hulman in Wisconsin? The worst part about probably losing that track for good; i.e., razed and used for something else, is the complete disregard for its place in history. It's a real shame.
    John Menard...
    Chicago Blackhawks done didn't do it again!

  30. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitokiri View Post
    No. When I said "closest" I meant distance wise but even if we were talking about the fandom I would argue the fans at Great Lakes are just as hyped even though the experience may be different.
    Yeah....been going to Great Lakes Dragaway since I was 3 years old. Saw Evel Knievel jump there at my first event in 1973. Great times and fans!

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