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IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said that a deal to add a race to the '12 Izod IndyCar Series schedule at the Milwaukee Mile "remains at the 'ideas' stage," according to Dave Kallmann of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Bernard indicated that the series "owes it to the track and fans to give racing here one more shot, and none of the apparent problems is a big enough hurdle to stop that from happening." He said, "We'd love to have Milwaukee, but it'd have to make sense for a promoter to be able to go there. We're just trying to see if the opportunity exists, (and if so) we'd like to try to do it. But I don't think we're any further." Kallmann noted IndyCar returned to the track last year after skipping the '10 season, but the '11 race weekend "suffered from organizational problems of a first-time promoter and the lack of a title sponsorship." The crowd also "fell short of expectations." Bernard denied the idea that adding Milwaukee is "just a choice made from desperation." Bernard: "If we have to live with 15 events this year, we can live with 15 events. ... And we think there's another opportunity, a minimum of one other racetrack that wants a race this year." However, he added, "I think we owe the Milwaukee people. We owe the track. Because if we don't do this, the chances of that track becoming mothballed, I think, is a possibility" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/1). Izod reportedly as part of its sponsorship with IndyCar maintains that the series run at least 16 races. In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin noted Bernard is "confident that the Baltimore race will be held, as scheduled, and he'll announce the 16th race during the State of the Series address Feb. 13." Cavin wrote, "As for the 16th race, I'm inclined to think it's Milwaukee, which would be a mid-June race." Bernard has "seemed cool on doing Fort Lauderdale" this year, as he "doesn't want to rush a new event" (INDYSTAR.com, 1/31).
AT LEAST ONE PROPOSAL IN: In Baltimore, Luke Broadwater reported North American Motorsports Events Inc. (NAME), one of several groups attempting to run the Baltimore Grand Prix this year, "has submitted a detailed 68-page business plan to City Hall officials." NAME CEO Geoff Whaling said he is "awaiting a reponse from the city" on the proposal. Sources have said that Indianapolis-based Dillon Construction Group Owner Dale Dillon "has emerged as a front-runner to take over the racing contract" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 1/30).
A panel of federal judges yesterday agreed to "consolidate four concussion-related lawsuits facing the NFL into one massive pre-trial case -- and is expected to soon do the same with at least 16 related suits," according to Adam Beasley of the MIAMI HERALD. The decision "sets the stage for a fierce legal showdown in Philadelphia between the NFL and many of its former players." More than 600 former players and their wives "have sued the league, alleging that the repeated head injuries suffered while playing football led to serious health issues later in life, including memory loss, migraine headaches and depression." The plaintiffs will "now marshal forces in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where Judge Anita Brody has agreed to take on the high-profile affair." The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation "found that the four complaints in question involved common questions of facts." The panel also "chose to keep the cases against the NFL bundled together with those against equipment maker Riddell, the league’s official helmet provider that had asked to be considered separately." The NFL is "expected to request that all concussion-related complaints be dismissed" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/1).