19 July 2010

The True North Strong and Free

Returning to the land of working TVs on Sunday morning, I was promptly awoken by my dog at 9 a.m., giving me roughly fours of sleep after driving straight through from Boston to Indianapolis in 13 hours.

And as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, I vowed that I should have just stopped in Buffalo for the night.  If I had, Toronto was a short drive away on Sunday morning.  All I needed was my passport, which was conveniently back in Indianapolis.  In any case, I thankfully had the TV and sports to watch once again on Sunday.

After touring the Maritime Provinces as a kid, and taking a reckless trip or two to Montreal in college, I thoroughly enjoy Canada.  The people are friendly, the beer is cheap and the summertime weather is phenomenal.  All that kept me from the Honda Indy Toronto was the passport.

In any case, Toronto once again proved to be the rough-and-tumble street circuit on the IZOD IndyCar schedule.  With six caution flags, all due to contact, the race left drivers' nerves frayed and TV viewers on edge, and not just because ABC continued their mind-boggling efforts to miss as many restarts as possible.

While attendance figures are tough to come by, the race seems to be on track for a 25th season in 2011, as the Canadian government is poised to give race promoters Kevin Savoree and Kim Green a $750,000 grant if they can match the funds.  What this does for Edmonton's future, though, is unknown.

With an exciting circuit, a population base of 3 million and strong promotion, Toronto should be a staple of the IndyCar series for years to come.  Additionally, the excellent journalists over at
Planet-IRL.com reported that IZOD is committed to building a base in Toronto, just as they have attempted to do this year with IndyCar stops in New York, Boston and Los Angeles, to name a few.

Maybe most importantly, based on highly-respected
Toronto Star reporter Norris McDonald's statement that "there was a 'big event' feel to the race, again. That’s what’s important to me," it sounds as if Green-Savoree Promotions appear to be on the right track with their five-year plan, regardless of how thestar.com may portray the attendance (or lack thereof) at the race.

Toronto has a chance to be, and should be in all actuality, a racing spectacle nearing that of Long Beach, with better racing.  Given further support from all parties, it looks well on its way.

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