Sick a fork in Milwaukee Mile - Giuffres pull out UPDATE #2 The Milwaukee Mile, the oldest continually operating motor speedway in the country, won't be hosting a national race in 2010.
That was the word late Wednesday from Wisconsin State Fair Park officials, who said there would be no NASCAR or Indy Racing League racing next year at the famed Mile.
"I'm sorry for this," was the message Susan Crane, chairwoman of the State Fair Park Board, said she wanted to tell race fans. "We tried to do everything we could to secure racing. But we're not giving up."
The announcement is a blow to motorsports fans in the region and a blow to community pride. Both Crane and Craig Barkelar, the fair's interim executive director, said they hoped to bring national racing back to the Mile in 2011.
Crane and Barkelar said that, after Wisconsin Motorsports, the race promoter that staged races last summer, went out of business, they tried to negotiate with four different promoters.
One of those was Historic Mile LLC, led by Tony Machi and Jim Beaudoin, two Milwaukee businessmen. A second was a group led by Frank and Dominic Giuffre, brothers and Milwaukee businessmen. A third was a group led by Scott Quick, a racing entrepreneur in the Twin Cities. And a fourth, unidentified group, was a national consortium that Barkelar and Crane said had been referred to them by NASCAR.
Of the four promoters in the mix, three of them were unable to secure a NASCAR contract, Barkelar and Crane said. The fourth and latest group to begin talks, met with State Fair officials in West Allis last weekend, but ultimately decided not to move ahead.
In a statement and interview, Barkelar and Crane said the fourth group didn't move ahead because the margin of profitability was too thin.
"Any possibility for a profitable operation would be eliminated if the promoter accepted liability for future track improvements," the statement said. JSOnline.com zzzz12/11/09 here is a link to a copy of the letter that was sent to the Wisconsin Sate Fair Park Board by the promoters.
11/20/09 In unusually caustic language, the presumptive promoter of the Milwaukee Mile on Friday accused the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board and its chairwoman, Susan Crane, of sabotaging a proposed operating agreement.
"Apparently, Sue Crane and her board just simply don't understand business, business protocol or good faith contract negotiations," Frank and Dominic Giuffre wrote in a letter to the board.
"We now have no intention of going anywhere with Sue Crane and her board, because you quite simply can't be trusted," they wrote.
The brothers said they were no longer interested in pursuing a promoter position at the Milwaukee Mile.
The brothers said they were seeking a three-year agreement. But Frank Giuffre said that contract provision was removed 7-10 days ago. The new proposed contract gave the group two months to secure a national auto race.
"How Sue Crane can remove a contract provision which provides that the promoter has three years to secure a National race and replace it with a provision allowing only two months to secure a national race and has the naïveté, ignorance or arrogance to think that this is such an insignificant matter that not even a phone call to discuss the issue is necessary absolutely boggles the mind."
According to the Giuffres, their investor group includes billionaire John Menard; John Kaishian, longtime owner of the old Hales Corners Speedway; and the Decker family, owner-operators of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River.
Craig Barkelar, the fair's interim executive director, said he was disappointed to hear the news that the Giuffres were out. He said that Frank Giuffre had accepted the two-month deadline earlier this week, but changed his mind.
"We tried to accommodate the Giuffre group. They wanted to have a contract before they negotiated with NASCAR. They wanted to have the best negotiating stance possible. They wanted a five-year period," Barkelar said.
Barkelar said there was doubt among members of the board that the Giuffres would be able to secure a NASCAR race in 2010. "So we had to put a stronger restriction in there," he said.
NASCAR has scheduled two races for next summer at the Mile. With the Mile contract a dead issue, at least for now, those races and the future of the track are again in doubt.
Asked what is next, Barkelar said he planned to discuss a contract with a third, unidentified group. He said the group was not locally based.
Here is the link to the letter the Giuffre brothers wrote: http://media.journalinteractive.com/documents/Status-of-the-Promoter-Contract-for-Mke-Mile.pdf JSOnline.com