IndyCar can kiss New Hampshire goodbye Jerry Gappens and his New Hampshire Motor Speedway team geared up on Wednesday for what he hopes will be a crowd of 100,000-plus people for the Sylvania 300, the second race in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, and the final major event of the track's busiest season ever.
Gappens sat in his office and talked excitedly about how the results Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had on Monday at Chicagoland Speedway energized their championship runs and about how tight the competition is as the Chase continues with Sunday's race.
The track's general manager and executive vice president was much more subdued when he discussed how next season is apt to be a little less busy at the track.
Gappens said it is “highly unlikely,” that the Izod IndyCar series will be returning to the track next summer.
“Based on the information I have right now, I'd say they won't be coming back,” Gappens said.
It is not an assessment Gappens expected, or wanted, to make.
He pushed hard for three years to get the Indy cars, which last raced at the speedway in 1998, back on the track's schedule and was thrilled a year ago when he landed a date for this August.
But then a crowd of about 28,000 showed up.
“Forty thousand was what it was going to take to have a chance to make money,” Gappens said. “When the bills got paid, it was a significant loss.”
A final decision has not been made and Gappens said the door is not closed on a return for the series, but he's not at all optimistic about the event happening again.
“I'd say it's highly unlikely at this point,” Gappens said. “If they wanted to come in and rent the track and assume the risk, they could do that. Or if they brought in some corporate sponsorship that would help underwrite some of it, those are really the only two ways we could look at continuing it.”
Gappens said he enjoyed working with Randy Bernard, who runs IndyCar, and the series.
“I like Randy, the series people were good and the drivers were very cooperative,” Gappens said. “I have nothing negative to say about the series. The bottom line is we didn't sell enough tickets to cover the expenses of putting on one of those races. I'm responsible for selling tickets here and at the end of the day I didn't get the job done.” NewHampshire.com
[Editor's Note: We said when they announced this race it would not work. IndyCar fans who did like oval racing are now NASCAR fans. NASCAR owns the oval tracks in the USA. Poor Randy Bernard has been getting bad advice from people who are telling him to bring the series to more ovals and bring in USAC Dirt Track racers - both of which are doomed for failure. Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and always expecting different results.”]