(Originally published 10.05.10 on BizBash Miami/South Florida)
The NextEra Energy IndyCar Championship, which consists of Izod IndyCar Series Indy 300 and Firestone Indy Lights Series 100 races, took place October 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After last year’s introduction of the track’s V.I.P. Pit Box and Pit Road cabana viewing areas, organizers revamped the viewing tents and started promotions nearly six months prior to race day, resulting in the former space selling out on Wednesday and 22 cabanas—13 more than in 2009—being booked for private groups.
“The clientele [for those areas] is different from our traditional demographic and has different expectations, so we wanted to raise the bar to meet that,” said the track’s director of corporate partnerships, Dan Carpenter, regarding the tent’s redesign. “The [Pit Box] lounge itself is the closest thing we’ve got on site to being very trendy, hip, and South Beach-ish.”
The 200 Pit Box ticket holders consisted primarily of C-level executives of small and midsize business, car sponsors, and small-business professionals and their clients. The cabanas can accommodate groups of 50, offer customized catering menus, and are primarily used by the race teams, track sponsors, or corporate sponsors. Both spaces hosted meet-and-greets with six race car drivers in the afternoon.
The redesign began with Diamonette Party Rentals replacing last year’s 45- by-125-foot Pit Box tent—with a large patio off one side—with a narrower 25- by 200-foot option, which fit better in the allotted space on the racetrack grounds and allowed for more interior space. Room Service, an AFR Event Furnishings Company furnished the space and 13 nearby private cabanas with white leather sofas, ottomans, and chairs. Normas Touch further adorned the space with sheer drapery around the open walls and floral centerpieces on the tables.
Carpenter also changed the catering setup for the Pit Box. Track caterer Americrown previously set up buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that offered a main course and selection of side items, which staffers replenished as needed throughout the day. This year, Carpenter kept the buffet for breakfast and dinner, but used seven food stations offering various options for lunch.