IndyCar decision due on NHMS
IndyCar Series racing could return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next year, Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith said yesterday.
“If we’re not running IndyCar here next year, will we do it in (2010)? I doubt it,” Smith said, during a press conference before the running of the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. “We want the IndyCar Series here next year, that’s our goal.”
Jerry Gappens, vice president and general manager at NHMS, said IndyCar officials should have an answer by Wednesday about whether or not the open-wheel circuit will make its return to the Granite State in 2009 after a 10-year hiatus.
IndyCar spokesman John Griffin told the Herald yesterday via e-mail that negotiations are ongoing between the Indiana-based series and SMI.
The IndyCar Series, which includes stars Danica Patrick and Helio Castroneves, raced at Loudon from 1996-98. But former track owner Bob Bahre, who sold the facility in 2007 to SMI for $340 million, ended his relationship because of declining attendance. The track also hosted CART from 1992 to ’95.
Eddie Gossage, vice president and general manager at Texas Motor Speedway, one of the eight other tracks under the SMI umbrella, has been working closely with IndyCar on behalf of SMI to return America’s top open-wheel series to NHMS.
“I’m a big believer in IndyCar racing,” Gossage said, whose 1.5-mile track draws close to 100,000 fans and is the second-largest attended Indy event other than the Indianapolis 500.
“Several IndyCar Series officials are expected about making this happen at (NHMS),” Gossage added.
SMI currently hosts three IndyCar races each season: Infineon (Calif.) Raceway, Texas and Kentucky Speedway.
Similar to his other SMI tracks, Smith also said he plans to install lights for night racing at NHMS and is currently in negotiations with Loudon officials to obtain the proper permits. Boston Herald
[Editor's Note: Prediction - A return to NHMS will be a complete failure. There is no great love for open wheel racing in the Northeast. CART (when it was strong) failed there and later the IRL. Haven't they learned yet? Amazing.]