Race fans, your complaints have been heard.
Last weekend, Chicagoland Speedway hosted the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “Lifelock.com 400” before a less-than-capacity crowd. Since NASCAR first visited Chicagoland in 2001, seven of the track’s eight Sprint Cup races have been sellouts. The other -- in 2007 – had only a few of the track’s 75,000 seats unsold.
Last Saturday night, there were large chasms of empty seats on both ends of the grandstand. In addition, some fans complained they were denied an opportunity to purchase single-day tickets to the event, being told instead that they would have to purchase a “Track Pack,” which includes tickets for other race events at the speedway.
Ranging in price from $195 to $260, Chicagoland Speedway’s “Track Pack” included tickets for the weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events, as well the August 28 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and an August 29 appearance by the IRL IndyCar Series. The Joliet oval is not alone in selling combo ticket packages. In fact, a number of tracks that host the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series do business the same way.
In 2010, however, Chicagoland Speedway -- and its sister International Speedway Corporation facilities -- will consider abolishing the “Track Pack” requirement, allowing fans to once again purchase tickets for individual events.
''We need to do everything we can to get back to a sellout in 2010,'' said Chicagoland Speedway President Craig Rust. ''The Track Pack provides a lot of value when you look at it. But it's something that needs to be looked at.''
ISC President John Saunders agreed, saying recently he anticipates “that at certain events we will unbundle ticket packages, as well as adjust prices in other sections of the facilities.'' He called the change “a high priority of our management team, to optimize attendance and revenue generation in what we expect will continue to be a challenging economic environment.''