Nice going COTA. The first question in this morning's Robin Miller's Mailbag:
Q: Recently I purchased tickets to the IndyCar event at COTA and wanted to get paddock passes. They told me they were sold out ($75 each), and I inquired how many they had. The response was 1,000! Are you kidding me? At every IndyCar event that I have been to, whether as a ticket purchaser or a participant in the MRTI in Pro Mazda, access to the IndyCar paddock was a given. That access is one reason why IndyCar is so attractive to the fans. If this is true and only 1,000 fans have passes, this is contrary to the IndyCar mantra.
Further, it reinforces some things about COTA that I am not particularly fond of, particularly after having attended other events. I was able to get passes via a race team but if true, this is insane. The paddock area is huge, and can accommodate many thousands. They also said that they would think 30,000-35,000 for the first year in attendance would be a good start. I would agree, but doing this with paddock passes on top of a premium ticket price will turn off many prospective fans.
RM: When I first read your letter I thought it had to be a mistake, so I called COTA and inquired about buying paddock passes and was told they were “sold out.” I asked how many were sold, and was told “a couple thousand.” I responded that COTA was enormous and could accommodate more paddock people than just about any IndyCar track, and I’d never heard of the paddock being sold out. The ticket rep said between IndyCar and COTA, they had reached their capacity. So then I called IndyCar, and it acknowledged there seems to be a little disconnect, but they were working on it. I suppose after dealing with F1’s limited access this is a whole new world for COTA, but it cannot afford to piss people off who are coming to its first event. I think IndyCar will work something out by March 22-24 so paddock passes would be available to anyone and everyone that wants one. But I thank you for calling this to my attention.