Bruton Smith lobbies for IndyCar finale UPDATE The Izod IndyCar Series will announce a 16-race 2011 schedule later this week with a season-ending event -- likely at Las Vegas Motor Speedway -- still to be finalized. Reached by telephone in England prior to the Kentucky Indy 300, IndyCar boss Randy Bernard said meetings with sponsorship groups in Las Vegas will be held later this month. If a deal to race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway can't be reached, IndyCar will race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
"We'll have 17 races," Bernard said.
Bruton Smith, who owns the Las Vegas, Kentucky and Texas tracks, among others, said he "certainly anticipates" having the final two races of the season.
This race at Kentucky Speedway will be Oct. 2, a daytime event.
"I'd be extremely disappointed if that didn't happen," he said. Indy Star09/04/10 Always the promoter, Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman of the board O. Bruton Smith glanced at his watch upon entering the Kentucky Speedway media center and opened the news conference with a rhetorical remark: “What time is it in Las Vegas right now? Let’s see, it’s about 1:30 in the afternoon.”
He amused himself, and set the tone for the next 15 minutes.
“I’m certainly looking forward to the final race for IndyCar being in Vegas,” Smith continued before the Kentucky Indy 300. “I’m anxiously anticipating and certainly think that will happen. It’s good for Speedway Motorsports and good for IndyCar to have the final race of the year in Las Vegas, baby.”
Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard, traveling in Europe to educate and engage manufacturers ranging from Mercedes to Audi regarding the next generation of IZOD IndyCar Series car and engine formula, confirmed that discussions with Las Vegas Motor Speedway are ongoing. The IZOD IndyCar Series will announce its 2011 schedule Sept. 10. It hasn't raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since 2000 (Al Unser Jr. was the winner).
Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger confirmed that the track’s 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series date will move to Oct. 2. Also already announced are Texas Motor Speedway’s doubleheader June 11, Iowa Speedway (June 25), the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix (Sept. 4), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Aug. 14) and, of course, the Indianapolis 500 (May 29).
Smith joined Bernard on June 27 in announcing the return of the series to New Hampshire Motor Speedway after an absence of 13 years.
“I have a lot of admiration for Randy; he brings a lot of new ideas to it,” Smith said. “Some of the things I’ve been trying to get done I’m hoping will get done. No. 1, we have to think about the race fans. We have to have larger numbers to be able to identify the cars, and I hope they will listen and get rid of the black cars. We don’t need black cars running at night on black asphalt.
“We have to be fan-friendly with the series and I don’t think we’ve done enough yet, but I think it’s headed in the right direction.”