I hope, leading up to the 2016 100th running of the Indy 500, Boles will expand this outreach. And instruct his staff to follow his example, across the board, in all their constituent and customer relationships.
A couple of years ago it was Boles' idea to have Boston Marathon runners, who didn't get to complete that run because of the bombing, come to IMS and sprint to the Yard of Bricks to finish their race. It was a greatly needed positive gesture and the sort of thing that, sadly, has largely been lost within the IMS culture.
A respectful suggestion from someone who has been a part of the IMS scene since 1969: The next, logical and necessary step, is for Boles to engage this way with the media. I mean the regional (still in ticket-selling range) and national (what sponsors notice) media. IMS once had very good relationships with media across the country -- the oldtime off-season annual media party was considered so important reporters would come in from New York and Los Angeles. But those kind of relationships were allowed to decay away.
Especially now, with the historic facility finally getting a facelift just as Chicago's Wrigley Field is doing, and with the 100th running just over a year away, Boles and Mark Miles and the entire Hulman & Co./IMS/IndyCar series team need to reach out with a hand of friendship and in the spirit of goodwill and open communication. Some bad media-related decisions have been made in the last year, partly due to a lack of communication, and some highly unfavorable opinions have been and are being shaped even as this is written.
If you need to know what happens when long-term unsatisfactory relationships with the influential national and key-market media are further irritated by more recent troubling decisions -- just when you are at your Big Moment and including from outlets normally considered "friendly" -- look no further than Hillary Clinton.
She should be a case study for Miles, Boles and IMS/IndyCar.
If IMS, not only for itself, but for its history and heritage and sponsors and city and state -- and to honorably reflect Mr. Hulman's spirit -- really wants the 100th to be the kind of Big Time National Media Story it deserves to be, Boles, etc. must go out and make it happen. That starts by talking.
POWER PLAYERS for the week of April 26: This week's 10 most influential people in the Business and Politics of Motorsports, as selected by long-time journalist/publicist and industry insider Michael Knight.
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- Why? It's Talladega weekend.
4. Josef Newgarden -- Promise finally fulfilled as much-touted 24-year-old from Tennessee gets his first IndyCar series win, at Barber Motorsports Park, for owners Sarah Fisher, Ed Carpenter and Wink Hartman.
5. Doug Boles -- Indianapolis Motor Speedway president takes a page out of Tony Hulman's playbook and tours Indiana talking-up IMS and its events.
7. Erica Enders-Stevens -- Defending Pro Stock champion wins again, near Houston, and has emerged as the headliner in the troubled NHRA class.
[ more next week . . . ]