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NEED FOR MORE SPEED: INDY SPEEDWAY LURES GRAND PRIX RACE
Published September 24, 1998
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and Formula One officials "have an oral agreement" to bring a U.S. Grand Prix race to IMS in September 2000, according to Koenig & Miller of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, who cite a "source familiar with the negotiations." No contract has been signed by either side, but the source said that IMS "has drafted news releases that are being reviewed" by both IMS President Tony George and Formula One Administration Ltd. President Bernie Ecclestone, and that a "formal announcement could come by next week." IMS Exec VP Jeff Belskus "denied there is an oral agreement." Koenig & Miller write that the Formula One bid "is a huge gamble for the Speedway, which will have to invest tens of millions of dollars before the first F-1 car turns a wheel." However, it is "believed that George might have put up as much as" $9M in transportation costs for the F-1 program to race at IMS each year. Ticket prices for the event "might be three times as much as" those for the Indy 500 or Brickyard 400, where the top-priced ticket is $125. IMS "has said it wants a long term deal for F-1 because of the expense involved," and it is "believed that George might want something in the seven- to 10-year range (Koenig & Miller, INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 9/24).