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IndyCar eyeing Chicagoland or Road America return? UPDATE #3

The drivers are pushing as hard for the Elkhart Lake track as they did for Milwaukee. After the Milwaukee 225 weekend turned disappointing -- with considerable confusion, some upset fans and a lousy crowd -- that's been one of the hot topics of the week: getting IndyCar to the Elkhart.

Bernard spent about an hour and a half at the facility, track president George Bruggenthies said Thursday, and seemed to come away reasonably impressed.

Bruggenthies sounded more positive about a race than he has before, but his overall message hasn't changed much.

“I think that he’s considering us for an event if it works in his schedule, if it works in our schedule and then also the business plan,” Bruggenthies. “There’s potential. I’m just listening to our fans. They want open-wheel. If I can make it happen, we’ll work towards that happening."  

That's a lot of ifs, the biggest of which regards the business plan.

Road America lost money with Champ Car during the split, and Bruggenthies hasn't shown a willingness to take a similar risk with a reunified IndyCar.

Other issues to be considered are A?) whether Bernard sees Milwaukee as being worth another shot and B) assuming the series returns to Chicagoland Speedway does it makes sense to have two or three events so close? In the interest of keeping a balance of oval tracks -- particularly ones drivers enjoy -- an Road America-for-Milwaukee trade would present a problem.

Also, don't expect an IndyCar race at RA to happen in June. The track's calendar has four events in the month. JSOnline

06/20/11 IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard went to see Road America’s George Bruggenthies last Friday and said: “It was a great track, I liked it, and it will get strong consideration next year.”

Chicago Speedway, dropped from the INDYCAR schedule this season after 10 years, is also lobbying hard to get back on it. “I’ve had several good conversations with Scott Paddock and if we can work out a deal that makes sense for both of us we’ll go back,’’ said Bernard. SPEEDTV.com

06/18/11 IndyCar's hiatus from the Chicago area may be short-lived. IndyCar officials and new Chicagoland Speedway chief Scott Paddock both said they would like to see the series return to Joliet next year. "With Scott, I'd say (the odds of returning) are 70-30," IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said Saturday during qualifying runs for weekend races at the Milwaukee Mile. "Scott has been very aggressive and wants the race back. "It's something we definitely want. … We're both working towards the same goal of bring a race back to Chicago." Chicago Tribune

06/18/11 IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard confirmed talks with Chicagoland Speedway and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., about being part of the 2012 schedule. He indicated a street race in Houston is close to becoming a reality. . . Bernard said last week's Texas doubleheader drew a 0.55 national television rating on Versus. Sunday's race will be the third of five this year on ABC, part of the contract that expires after the 2012 season. Network officials are in a period of exclusive negotiations with IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which have IMG's top sports property negotiator, Barry Frank, representing them. The Indianapolis Star
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