So, was the race a success? It depends on a) your definition of a "successful race" and b) what you were expecting in advance. If you demanded that it meet the pre-split standards, then no, it was not. Of course, if that was your hope, then you're an IDIOT. Unification was NEVER going to fix things immediately, but is progress being made?
I think, despite a messy month and messy race, the answer is yes. There was just a bit more buzz coming into it, the crowd was indeed up, and, apparently, so were TV ratings (though not as much as some would have liked).
That Lars Anderson piece is a mixed bag, in terms of quality (Jeebus, ENOUGH on the 22nd place finisher*), but is an essentially positive, forward-looking piece. Furthermore, despite using the same, tired (IMHO) equipment next year, I think, unlike Robin Miller and others, the CC teams will be much more compettitive, an element that Anderson rightly fingers as critical. If so, look out.
I'd add something else: Flexibility in marketing. Yes, Danica, Marco, Graham, and Helio are obvious, but HELLO, you have a new Indy 500 winner, Scott Dixon. Use the "Iceman" moniker to an advantage.
Then there are other up-and-comers like, ahem, 500 Rookie of the Year RYAN HUNTER-REAY. Yes, I'll keep banging this drum until proven wrong. He has staying ability folks, deal with it. Maybe he'll be one more (winning) name for the sport to build on. Imagine that.
*Before concluding, how about the gall of Danica demanding, last year, the League do more to promote her. Hey Princess, Shut Up! You've now won ONE freaking race! Get over yourself.
So, the future is, while uncertain, full of possibilities. This time last year, there was no future. I'd say that's progress.