Toronto: Preview

IndyCar commentary — By on July 7, 2011 3:06 pm
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I’m beyond excited to get back to the track for this first time this season to provide full coverage of the Honda Indy Toronto for More Front Wing.

Not only is this event special to me because it happens to be my home race, but this year also marks the 25th running of the event. While I’ll be following the usual Series-related storylines this weekend — some of which I outlined in a Toronto preview article for INDYCAR Nation (it’s free; sign up today!) — but I’ll also be paying particular attention to how the current promoters, Green Savoree Promotions, handle the celebration of this milestone and honor this event’s great history.

Advertising in the city this year has been much stronger in some ways and weaker in others. On the positive side, it’s currently impossible to walk through the downtown core without seeing lightpost banners announcing the race weekend (and yes, they do point out that this is the 25th running). I’ve also heard reports of ads in the local commuter newspapers and on television. On a point that’s perhaps significant in terms of reaching a new demographic, I’ve noticed attention for the race in the city’s event blogs, and posts touting Free Friday have appeared on Toronto deal-shopping websites.

On the negative side, though, there was no race week festival held in Dundas Square this year, although I’d argue that the limited reach of that event didn’t justify the money spent. There have been some driver appearances and autograph sessions over the past few days, but the communication surrounding them was terrible — I was actively seeking the information and had an awful time finding it, so a fan with casual interest didn’t have a hope. And while I haven’t spent much time on public transit or on the Gardiner Expressway leading up to race weekend this year, I haven’t heard of advertising being placed on either venue, and those are by far the most effective methods for reaching large audiences in Toronto. When all of those pluses and minuses are put together, it will be very interesting to see what this weekend’s turnout looks like and how much excitement has been generated for the event.

As far as the on-track action goes, I plan to live-tweet every session for both the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights, so be sure to follow @MoreFrontWing on Twitter. And, as always, I’ll also provide a summary of each day’s events here at MoreFrontWing.com.

If you’ll be at the track this weekend, don’t forget about the tweet-up taking place on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 PM (just before the start of the Ferrari race) at the Toronto Motosports booth in Thunder Alley (the one with the Canadian flags selling James Hinchcliffe and Paul Tracy merchandise). Full details about that event can be found here. It would be great to meet some of the faces behind the INDYCAR social media nicknames!

The weather forecast is promising near-perfection for all three days (it may be a touch on the too-hot-and-sunny side, if anything), so the stage is set for a fantastic race weekend. Stay tuned to More Front Wing for news and views throughout the 25th running of the Honda Indy Toronto.

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