New Hampshire Motor Speedway General Manager Jerry Gappens told the New Hampshire Union Leader that while he considered IndyCar's return to the track this past weekend to have been a reasonable success, he could not yet say whether the race will return in 2012.
“Ideally, I'd like to have them [IndyCar] come back, but we've got to make it work from a financial standpoint," Gappens said.
Gappens told the Leader that in consultation with Bruton Smith, CEO of track owner Speedway Motorsports Inc., along with IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, he will try to determine whether it's feasible to keep the race.
“I talked to Bruton [Sunday] night and one of the things talked about was trying to generate more corporate support for the race,” Gappens said. “With that, and certainly with some more fans buying tickets, I think we're on to something. But I think it's going to take that to make it work.”
Gappens estimated that about 30,000 fans attended Sunday's race, which was threatened (and ultimately shortened) by inclement weather. He anticipated when the race was announced more than a year ago, that it could draw between 35,000-40,000.
“When we decided to have an event here, we knew we were going to have to build on it,” Bernard said before Sunday's race. “I wouldn't say we're disappointed. Did we think we'd have more? Yes, I will say that. But the fact is we are significantly up from the last time. I think we're making progress.”
Bernard and Gappens said that track builder and former owner Bob Bahre told them that the last two years the Indy Racing League brought Indy cars to the track in 1997 and 1998, there were crowds of 7,500 and 8,000.