Watkins Glen To Host IndyCar This Year As Replacement For Canceled Boston Race
IndyCar will return to Watkins Glen Int'l this Labor Day weekend "for the first time in six years after a hastily arranged agreement was finalized," according to Ron Levanduski of the Elmira STAR-GAZETTE. The IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen "was added to the 16-race IndyCar schedule as a replacement" for the canceled Grand Prix of Boston. Officials with WGI and parent company ISC "took advantage of the late timing of the event to strike a deal both parties were willing to accept." IndyCar President of Competition & Operations Jay Frye on April 29 called up WGI President Michael Printup to "see if WGI was interested in taking on the race on such short notice." Printup said that they "talked again the following day and the wheels went into motion." The reason IndyCar left WGI after '10 was "because it overvalued itself by raising its sanctioning fee" to $1.5M. ISC "resisted and withdrew all four of its tracks, including Watkins Glen, from returning to the series" in the '11 season. Printup would "not comment on the amount of the sanctioning fee for this last-minute deal but did say that a potential long-term deal would be discussed only after the Labor Day weekend event." Printup said that both his team and IndyCar will "manage the short window to promote this race with an aggressive marketing campaign, spearheaded by IndyCar" (Elmira STAR-GAZETTE, 5/15).
FILL THE VOID: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin noted WGI "quickly emerged as the best option to fill the void on such short notice." IndyCar also "considered a return to Gateway Motorsports Park east of St. Louis, and will look at that venue" -- and WGI -- for '17 races (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/14). In Indiana, Ken de la Bastide noted IndyCar previously raced at WGI on the July 4 weekend and "attendance at the events suffered." Printup said, "With Labor Day being the last weekend of the summer, a lot of college students will be back at school in the area. It provides us with a major marketing opportunity" (Anderson HERALD BULLETIN, 5/14).