A couple of details need to be set completely straight regarding the arrangement that would have Andretti Sports Management bring IndyCar back to Milwaukee this season.
This comes in regard to comments made by Kevin Healy, managing director of Milwaukee IndyFest, in an interview with the Journal Sentinel that appeared both in a story in the Thursday paper and on JSOnline and in a transcript of that conversation in the JSOnline racing blog. Nothing he said was incorrect, but implications could leave a reader with an incomplete characterization of what has exactly is happening.
No contract to rent the Milwaukee Mile from State Fair Park has actually been signed yet.
Healy never said there was; he merely detailed Andretti's plans.
No one seems to the expect the proposed deal to fall through, but some details need to finalized, Rick Frenette, State Fair's executive director, reiterated Thursday morning.
An initial Journal Sentinel story on Andretti's plans had said directly that the contract had not been signed. Suffice to say that State Fair Park would have preferred to hold off an announcement until every "i" was dotted and "t" crossed, but Andretti was put in a tough spot by a mistake on the event website.
Also, the deal was represented as covering five years. While it would affect five years, the specific provisions of the contract would only govern to 2012.
Andretti would have right of first refusal -- State Fair couldn't rent the place to someone else for the race after this season without Andretti having the opportunity to negotiate, as I understand it -- for the subsequent years. But the sides would have to hammer out specifics, Frenette said, and sign rental contracts.
Given the recent history of on-again-off-again races with different promoters, you can understand why State Fair Park would be skittish about signing anything that would tie its hands into the future.
So while Andretti is planning on promoting an IndyCar race at the Mile or multiple years, neither side would be contractually obligated to five under the 2012 terms. And as of Thursday morning, those terms had not been finalized. JSOnline.com
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