IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has confirmed that his league has signed "a mutual of understanding" to stage a second Izod IndyCar Series race in Brazil in '12. In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin notes "if all contracts are signed, the race will be a downtown street race in the southern city of Porto Alegre." Bernard said, "It'll be great. It will be in the city, but it's their wine country." The Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 was held yesterday after being postponed one day due to weather (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/3). However, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage in a special to ESPN DALLAS wrote, "If you hold an IndyCar race in Brazil, does that move the needle for IndyCar racing as a whole? ... Should the series ever leave the U.S.?" IndyCar seems to be "enjoying an increased relevance in America, albeit slight," and the question "haunting IndyCar racing" is whether "international events cost the sport in the U.S." (ESPNDALLAS.com, 5/2).
SHOWING THEIR HAND: USA TODAY's Gary Mihoces notes former World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack is "launching a pro league aimed at showcasing poker's proven somebodies." There are 218 players "approved to compete, if they choose, when play begins Aug. 9-12 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas." The list is "topped by such stars as Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Phil Helmuth," but those three are "far outnumbered by pros who have built consistent winnings without celebrity." Players qualify for "five-year, three-year and two-year eligibility cards." Mihoces reports Pollack's league "plans announcements on its name and TV deal" (USA TODAY, 5/3).
THE MORE, THE MERRIER? In DC, Thomas Boswell noted with MLB considering playoff expansion, some fans "will scream that a one-game or three-game playoff is comically inappropriate -- and a grab for TV money -- in a sport that plays 162 games to decide who makes the playoffs." Boswell: "Sounds reasonable. But that misunderstands the baseball culture: What infuriates lifers is playing six months to finish in first place, then run the risk of a KO in a fluky five-game series by a wild card. That problem will still exist under any new format. ... One thing’s certain. With the NBA and NHL playoffs at 16 of 30 teams, and the NFL at 12 out of 32 teams, there’s no way baseball isn’t going to 10-out-of-30 -- by next year" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/2).