Grand-Am, Nationwide to race at Indy UPDATE #3 Indianapolis Motor Speedway will add Nationwide and Grand-Am Rolex Series races to its Sprint Cup weekend in 2012, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
A press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday at the start-finish line at IMS.
IMS officials told ESPN.com last month that they were looking to add the two events -- the Nationwide race will be held on Saturday afternoon with the three-hour Grand-Am race on Friday afternoon -- to give the fans added value for the weekend.
The Nationwide race will move from its longtime home at Lucas Oil Raceway. The Truck Series is expected to remain at LOR, likely on Friday night. Doug Boles, the director of public relations at IMS, could not comment on the scheduling changes when contacted Tuesday. Boles said last month though, that the track needs more than one event to give fans more value for their ticket. zzzz
"We are the only event on the series schedule that has one event on a race weekend," Boles said last month. "Friday the Cup cars have two hours on the track. All we get on Saturday is qualifying and the final practice. If you look at the entire on-track schedule, it's just not a lot of content.
"That's the biggest challenge, how do we add value to our fans?"
If the NASCAR and IndyCar schedules around the Brickyard weekend stay the same in 2012, the IndyCar drivers would have a weekend off. Boles said last month the hope would be to attract some of them to the Grand-Am event and sell more tickets for a weekend that has struggled in past years.
A report in May said sales for the July 31 Cup race are lagging behind last year, when 140,000 spectators reportedly attended, nearly half of the 270,000 that were at the race in 2007.
"If you're trying to figure out how to spend dollars in the summer, it helps make this event more attractive," Boles said of adding events. "You can camp and stay in one location and see two or three events." ESPN.com
06/16/11 An Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman Tuesday confirmed talks to bring a sports car race to the facility's road course in 2012 during NASCAR's Brickyard 400 weekend, but he said no agreement is in place. The biggest obstacle: converting the facility from a road course configuration, which would be used for a Friday endurance race of Grand-Am's Rolex Series, to an oval for NASCAR on Saturday and Sunday. NASCAR owns Grand-Am, which would bring a title sponsor to cover the sanctioning fee estimated at $200,000. Also being discussed is a move of the weekend's Nationwide Series race, which comes with a guaranteed check of about $700,000 due to the television contract, from Lucas Oil Raceway to IMS. IMS officials have been looking for ways to bolster the Brickyard weekend amid declining attendance. Indianapolis Star
06/16/11 Officials at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NASCAR are in serious discussions about adding a Grand-Am Rolex Series race and possibly a Nationwide Series race to the 2012 Sprint Cup weekend at the Brickyard, multiple sources confirmed Wednesday. The Nationwide race currently at O'Reilly Raceway Park would move to IMS on Saturday afternoon. A three-hour Grand-Am endurance race likely would run on Friday afternoon so as not to conflict with the Truck Series race held that night at ORP. Doug Boles, the director of public relations at IMS, could not comment on a potential Nationwide move but acknowledged discussions to bring the Grand-Am event to the weekend for a road course race are taking place. He said the track needs more than one event to give fans more value for their ticket. Officials at ORP said they have not been told that the Nationwide race will move to IMS next year, but added if that happened it would be a big blow. "If that were to happen it would definitely make us re-strategize and refocus,'' ORP general manager Wes Collier said. "This track has been here for 50 years now. It would definitely be an impact, but we'd continue on. Right now we're planning on having two events here next year.'' ESPN.com
06/14/11 SPEED.com's Robin Miller breaks the news of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series joining the bill for the 2012 Brickyard 400 weekend on the IMS.
SPEED.com has learned that the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, owned and operated by NASCAR, will run a three-hour enduro the same weekend as the 19th annual stock car race in 2012.
It’s not known whether GRAND-AM will be held Friday or Saturday but it would be the first time races were staged on the oval and road course at the same time. zzzz
IMS president Jeff Belskus was unavailable for comment, but the Speedway announced a few days ago it was re-paving the infield section of the road course.
And it’s still unknown whether MOTO GP, set for Aug. 26-28, will be returning to IMS in 2012 since it plans to add Austin, Texas and already runs at Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Speed.com
[Editor's Note: They are repaving the infield. Good. That opens the door for a possible blockbuster announcement that IndyCars will race on the Indy road course instead of MotoGP. That event would draw a huge crowd and possibly be as big a money maker for IMS and IndyCar as the Brickyard 400.]