SBJ/November 23 - 29, 1998/No Topic Name

Target nabs new Chicago CART race

The Chicago Motor Speedway at Sportsman's Park landed Target stores as title sponsor for the track's inaugural CART race next year.

Target is no stranger to CART, and its added sponsorship of the new speedway is hardly a surprise. Target has sponsored CART's Chip Ganassi Racing team since 1990, and Ganassi, a three-time CART champion, is also a partner in the new $64 million Chicago Motor Speedway slated to open next year.

Chicago Motor Speedway, a privately financed joint venture between Ganassi and Sportsman's Park President Charles Bidwill III, will transform the aging horse racing track into an auto racing and thoroughbred racing facility. Sportsman's Park shut down on June 30 for renovations. When it reopens, it will feature a one-mile oval auto racing track, a new 7/8-mile thoroughbred track and new barns. Seating capacity will be 67,000 initially but will hit 90,000 when the project is completed.

The facility's first race, to be called the Target Grand Prix, will run Aug. 22. It will be the 15th race of CART's 20-race series set for next year.

Race officials wouldn't disclose terms of the sponsorship.

As construction continues at CMS, other racing entities are eyeing the Chicago market.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. has optioned 540 acres outside Chicago, while the International Speedway Corp. holds an option on an 830-acre parcel in Plano, Ill. But neither group has moved any closer in recent months to actually moving into the Chicago area.

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