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Indy to host Bike race starting in ’08? UPDATE #6 Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Joie Chitwood is optimistic there will be an international motorcycle event at the track in 2008, but he said today that choosing a date remains a challenge. Chitwood had hoped for a late-August weekend, but busy local and international schedules appear to be prohibitive, he said.

“We have to find a date that works for all parties,” he said. “There are a lot of factors to consider.”

MotoGP has an 18-race schedule in 2007 that visits many of the world’s top road courses. It has one U.S. race, held this year on July 22 in Monterey, Calif.

MotoGP would have to make adjustments to accommodate Indy in September or October. This year, the series has races in Italy (Sept. 2), Portugal (Sept. 16), Japan (Sept. 23), Australia (Oct. 14) and Malaysia (Oct. 21) in that period.

Chitwood denied a report that he has a deal with MotoGP, the sanctioning body he has targeted over the past six months.

“Nothing has been signed, and (discussions) are not to the point where it’s official,” he said. Indy Star

06/21/07 Tony George has the monopoly on four-open-wheeled entertainment in this country but, starting in 2008, one of the most electrifying things on two wheels will be performing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

SPEEDTV.com has learned that IMS has finalized a deal to bring the MotoGP series to the Speedway next fall. MotoGP officials were spotted dining with IMS president and chief operating officer Joie Chitwood earlier this week.

“We are working very hard to having a MotoGP event here sometime in 2008 as a kickoff to our centennial era,” said Fred Nation, IMS vice president of communications. “Remember, our first motorsports event at the Speedway in 1909 was a motorcycle race.” More at SPEEDTV.com

03/18/07 Tony George interviewed on Wind Tunnel Sunday night said that there was better than a 50% chance that MotoGP would be coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting in 2008......one year before the Speedway's 100 year celebration.  The Speedway opened in 1909 with a motorcycle race, a very unsuccessful one.

02/19/07 The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has hired Hardcard Holdings, a leading motorsports management and consulting firm specializing in motorcycle events, IMS President Joie Chitwood announced Feb. 19.  See Hot News page for the full story.

02/16/07 Indianapolis Motor Speedway doesn't yet have a motorcycle race for its 2008 calendar, but it has a month for the event just in case. The month would be August, said track president Joie Chitwood, who said hosting the MotoGP series does not hinge on whether Formula One returns to the road course circuit. "We've always planned this as a fourth event (for the facility)," said Chitwood, who is nearing final discussions with MotoGP officials. "At that point, the dates are limited."

Based on the time slots used this year, the corresponding dates of the Speedway's 2008 events would be May 25 (Indianapolis 500), June 15 (U.S. Grand Prix) and July 27 (Allstate 400 at the Brickyard). The Speedway's staff would need at least three weeks to convert the oval track back to its road course configuration, putting the target dates for MotoGP as Aug. 17 or Aug. 24. "It's a summer event," Chitwood said. "It fits in August."

The Indy race is not expected to replace Laguna Seca. "It's really something special," Chitwood said of MotoGP. More at IndyStar

01/15/07 Latest rumors out of Italy are that the Indy Speedway is negotiating with both MotoGP and World Superbikes and that World Superbikes might get the nod over MotoGP.

12/21/06 Indianapolis Motor Speedway will likely host a round of the MotoGP World Championship in 2008, according to a number of sources, but it won’t replace the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Instead, for the first time ever, the U.S. will host two rounds of the championship.

The news was first reported by Motor Sport Aktuell, an authoritative Swiss weekly. MSA said that the race would replace the Chinese GP at Shanghai, an event that hasn’t had the success that Dorna had hoped for in the world’s most populous nation.

Though nothing has been signed, all indications are that an event at Indianapolis is moving forward. Ron Green, a spokesman for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said that “There is no agreement in place,” but, he added, “The Speedway is still active in its dialogue with several motorcycle racing sanctioning bodies. It is clear that the Speedway wants an event. And it’s something that we’ve been exploring for quite some time.”

The likelihood of the Speedway hosting a stand-alone round of the AMA Superbike Championship is slim, given the magnitude of their other events. But it’s possible the AMA would provide support races for a MotoGP race.

“We would want a full menu of on-track activity for that weekend,” Green said. “Again, the Speedway, our reputation, in fact our mission statement is providing leadership and excellence in motorsports entertainment, and we would want an active track that weekend.”

With MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden a native of nearby Owensboro, Kentucky, the location would play well to his Midwest fan base.

“You don’t have to be a huge motorcycle fan to know about Nicky Hayden,” Green said. “The fact that he’s from Owensboro, almost a sister city to Evansville, Indiana, hasn’t gone unnoticed. And he is, if not the star, one of the premier stars of the sport.”

Television is another tool that Dorna plans to use to increase exposure in the U.S. Last year ABC broadcast a highlight version of the Red Bull U.S. GP a week later. The ratings were considerably higher than for the original Speed telecast.

“The idea was to get it to a mainstream sports public,” Emmett said, adding that having more telecasts on broadcast television is one of the options Dorna is considering for 2007.

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