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All Eyes On Indy
LARS ANDERSON
June 02, 2008
Knocked out of the race, Danica Patrick was fuming while Scott Dixon was cruising to victory in a rejuvenated 500. Can U.S. open-wheel racing build on its recent merger and keep the momentum going?
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June 02, 2008

All Eyes On Indy

Knocked out of the race, Danica Patrick was fuming while Scott Dixon was cruising to victory in a rejuvenated 500. Can U.S. open-wheel racing build on its recent merger and keep the momentum going?

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? Develop new teams and young talent A primary sponsorship in NASCAR typically costs $15 million per season; sponsorship in IndyCar runs about $3 million a year. " IndyCar is the lowest-cost racing around, and we need to keep it that way to entice more sponsors and owners," says Roger Penske, who owns IndyCar and NASCAR teams. "If we got seven or eight new teams, it would make our sport much more healthy." He also pines for one other thing: more U.S.-born racers with the potential to become stars. "We need to attract new names, and we need to be the place where all the young drivers want to end up," says Penske. "You know, golf was down on their knees before Tiger Woods came along."

SCOTT DIXON will never pack the star power of Tiger or even Danica—the New Zealander is as reticent and seemingly emotion-free as any driver in the paddock—but 90 minutes after the race on Sunday a crowd of 1,000 still stood in the infield and chanted his name as he climbed the stairs of the track's iconic Pagoda, just behind the pits. Dixon, with his wife of three months, Emma, standing nearby, did something wholly out of character: Yelling to the fans from a balcony, he flung several hats emblazoned with BORG WARNER (the name of the winner's trophy) out over the crowd. The normally stone-faced driver then pumped his fist once, twice, then let out another whoop, prompting the fans to cheer him even louder.

For an open-wheel driver these days, winning the Indianapolis 500 is once again a heady feeling. A great spectacle, indeed.

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