IndyCar eyeing Road America and Road Atlanta UPDATE #2
Here’s what the principals had to say about IndyCar’s change in approach to Road America as it concentrates on rebuilding the event at the Milwaukee Mile.
|Will IndyCar return to Road America where CART once saw big crowds?|
(Andretti’s group is promoting Milwaukee IndyFest June 15-16. Bruggenthies is the president at Road America, the Elkhart Lake, Wis., road course that had had numerous discussions with IndyCar about a race.)
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard:
“I get a lot of questions, When are you going back to Elkhart Lake? I think we owe it to Michael Andretti who is laying out a lot of money to make that event successful. He has asked us not to rush Road America right now, let me try to succeed here. He's all for it. He loves Road America.
“But I think we have a responsibility to try to help Milwaukee every way we can, and we are. We put a lot of money into this, too. I think it's important for us to keep the Milwaukee Mile on our race series.
“If we could do something there and have the support of Andretti, we would. Let's look and see how well the Milwaukee Mile does this year. That's where our emphasis is right now, our concentration is. Let's make the Milwaukee Mile what the Milwaukee Mile was all about. Here is a track that was built in 1903. Oldest track in America. I for damn sure didn't want to see that track die on my clock. I wanted to make sure we did everything we can to keep that race going. I feel like if we let it go this time, it becomes a mothball. It dries up.
We have to do everything we can to make sure we're trying to keep that race on our series. It's too important to us.”
“We definitely had some concerns about it when he was talking about it. We were just going to support him on whatever he did. But I think it’s important for us to have a good event in Milwaukee, and at this time, I don’t know, it might be too fragile to do two up in the same market. Maybe a couple years from now, it’ll be a little different.
“I love Elkhart Lake. If it came about, we’d do whatever we can to help each other out. We’d work together. Would it be healthy for Milwaukee right now? I don’t know. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt it. But maybe it would. I don’t know. Hard to say.
“We’re holding our breath. We’re doing everything the experts told us to do. It’s scary because they say Milwaukee is a late-buying event. They’re saying do not advertise until three weeks out; and that’s when it really flips on. They’re like, ‘We’re telling you it’s going to happen that way.’ So we’re going with it. We’ll see. We’re biting our nails.
“We’re doing everything we can. It’s going to be a cool event. Once, I think, we get the person there, they’re going to be like, ‘Oh, this is cool.’ And then I think it’ll be easier to get more back next year because I think they’ll see it. It’s hard to explain to them what we really are trying to do until they actually see it. But it’s going to be pretty cool. The infield is going to be like nothing you’ve seen ever. Our goal is to have it jam-packed and just something for everybody. The snake pit. The fan zones. The amusement park stuff. It’s going to be cool. I think. We’re trying.”
“I certainly understand that they need to focus on giving the Mile the opportunity to be successful. Of course they want to spin it that way. I understand that and I support that. That’s fine. I wouldn’t want to talk about another (potential) event when you want to talk about the events that are coming up. They’re a partner in that event, no doubt. So of course they want it to work. Plus it’s the oldest racetrack around. It’s actually a good track. We both know that. It’s just lacked a promoter. Can this promoter get the fans out? I don’t know. It remains to be seen.
“I met with Randy (Bernard, IndyCar CEO) when I was at Long Beach in April. That’s not that long ago. We had the same conversation. He has to see how the Mile happens. He’s got to give it a chance. It doesn’t exclude us from the ’13 schedule by any means. And he’s got to support this event. Otherwise why would it be on the schedule?
“You know my viewpoint. I’m not afraid of two events in Wisconsin. I think that events promote awareness, create awareness and develop fans. That’s what the series needs. They’ve had their challenges with the new car initially, and now they’ve got some engine challenges, but its’ in the news, so people are excited. There was a good crowd at Long Beach, and we like that. I hope it’s successful.
“We’re doing just fine here up in little Elkhart Lake.” JSOnline02/27/12 Rumor has it that we should look for the date of the race in China to change in 2013 so that Road American can get the only good open weekend that they have free to host IndyCar. This year there was talk of IndyCar teaming up with ALMS at Road America, but IndyCar had already committed to Qingdao, China for that weekend to coincide with the big Qingdao Beer festival. Qingdao is the beer capital of China.
02/26/12 In a Q & A session with Racer Magazine new IndyCar Director of Competition Beaux Barfield said that both Road America and Road Atlanta are being discussed as possible future IndyCar races.
Q. Will IndyCar ever run at places like Road Atlanta or Road America?
A. Honestly, those are two venues that have specifically been mentioned since I've been in the IndyCar offices over the last two months. I think Road America is on everyone's wish list among teams, drivers and the personnel in the IndyCar office. Road Atlanta would probably require a little more cooperation and coordination from different entities than Road America would, but certainly they are both venues that could be seen on the IndyCar calendar in years to come.