SBD/October 3, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

IndyCar Schedule Next Year Could Be Low On Ovals If Title Sponsors Are Not Found

After seven races on oval tracks this year, IndyCar may only have five in '12
The '12 Izod IndyCar Series schedule is "going to be hurting for ovals" unless IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard and SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith “can find a couple of title sponsors," according to Robin Miller of SPEEDTV. Without some “major funding there will be no races at Kentucky or Loudon, N.H.," while races at both Milwaukee and Motegi, Japan, are "gone." Smith met with Bernard Saturday afternoon “trying to find a way to keep Kentucky Speedway and New Hampshire International Speedway on the 2012 card.” Bernard said, "The ovals are important to our fan base and to our series because we need to keep a balance in order to remain the most diverse series in the world. I’m concerned but what can we do? It’s a tough deal right now getting promoters for ovals." Miller noted the '11 schedule has seven oval tracks and there "may only be five ovals in 2012 -- Indianapolis, Texas, Iowa, Vegas and Fontana, Calif.” Texas Motor Speedway hosts a double-header race. China “was thought to be a done deal for a street show at Qingdao but still hasn’t been finalized” (SPEEDTV.com, 10/1). In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin noted Bernard is expected to announce the ’12 schedule Oct. 14 and he is “looking at a 17-race schedule if all things come together,” but that “includes keeping Kentucky.” Bernard “now knows the path to returning to Kentucky Speedway.” Bernard, "Find a title sponsor." He said if a sponsor cannot be found, then “we don't come back." Cavin noted the price for “a suitable title sponsor" is $300,000-500,000. Meanwhile, Bernard said that a “push to get Chicagoland Speedway on next year's schedule has fallen short,” and it “doesn't appear New Hampshire Motor Speedway, another oval, will return” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/2).

ATTENDANCE PROBLEMS AT OVALS: In Toronto, Norris McDonald wrote outside of the Indianapolis 500 and the annual race at Iowa Speedway, attendance "at Indy-style ovals is a disgrace." Yesterday's Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway "was attended by so few people that they looked lost in the 100,000-seat arena." McDonald: "Milwaukee was embarrassing earlier this year and New Hampshire was a joke more recently and neither are expected to be on the 2012 schedule" (WHEELS.ca, 10/2).
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