Montreal race organizers seek funding to line NASCAR's pockets
Octane Management president Francois Dumontier says that while his company has assumed financial responsibility for next year's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, he will continue to seek government funding.
"We never ended the discussion with the government from last summer, and now it's a different group that will have the discussion," Dumontier said last week. "When we announced that the event would be maintained, the levels of government welcomed it as a good thing.
"We signed the agreement (with NASCAR) to continue the race knowing we didn't have any public funding," Dumontier added. "But the event is important for Montreal and Quebec, and for sure in the next few weeks I will have those discussions."
Octane Management has replaced U.S.-based International Speedway Corporation as official organizer of Montreal's NAPA Auto Parts 200, and the sixth edition of the Nationwide Series event will be held next Aug. 17-18.
ISC was the principal organizer for the past three years, but after last Augusts’ race, it informed NASCAR it no longer wanted to remain in its capacity here. The decision came after ISC officials failed to persuade Toursime-Quebec to come up with at least $500,000 in public funds to support the event in the future, with a similar amount expected from the federal government. Octane Management is the promoter for Formula One's Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and an IndyCar event in Edmonton. Dumontier said the decision to take on responsibility for the NAPA Auto Parts 200 was based on the enthusiasm for NASCAR among race fans in Quebec and across the country, as well as the history of the event, which was first held in 2007. Octane recently signed a new one year deal with NASCAR.
Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice-president of racing operations, attended a news conference held at the track last week and stressed "NA-SCAR was not willing to walk away" from Montreal.
"We are delighted to be back and are looking forward to working with Francois and the entire Octane Management team," O'Donnell said.
"This event is the crown jewel for the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Our drivers look forward to coming here. We, as a sanctioning body, look forward to coming here. It's a terrific event, great atmosphere, and the fans have been truly supportive."