Kansas might drop IndyCar race
The future of IZOD IndyCar series racing at Kansas Speedway could be in question when a second NASCAR Sprint Cup race is awarded to the facility as soon as 2011.
Lesa France Kennedy — chief executive officer for International Speedway, parent company of Kansas Speedway, as well as a vice chairman of NASCAR — pledged that she would request a second Cup date from NASCAR as a condition for the state’s approving the Hollywood Casino.
So if the second Cup weekend is awarded this spring, it’s possible the IndyCar Series could be squeezed out unless it returns to the early July date that it occupied from 2001 to 2006 — a schedule that led to fan complaints about summer heat.
“We’re in the middle of an extensive analysis of both NASCAR schedules as well as IndyCar,” Roger VanDerSnick, ISC executive vice president and chief operating officer said after Friday’s ceremonial groundbreaking for the Hollywood Casino.
“Randy Bernard’s here, the new CEO (of the Indy Racing League), and we had a nice visit talking about the future. We’re in the motor sports business. … While we derive most of our profits from NASCAR, we want to promote successful IndyCar races, too.”
The Sprint Cup and IndyCar series have never run as companion races on the same weekend at the same track, but that might be considered for Kansas Speedway.
“It’s something we would be willing to take a look at,” VanDerSnick said. “We would want to talk to a lot of other people. NASCAR would have an opinion about that. But it’s something we should probably discuss.”
Bernard, in just his third month on the job with the IRL, has already shown he’s not afraid to make changes in the IndyCar Series.
“We’re very optimistic that we’ll have some great events with ISC in the future, and change it up and do some things hopefully outside the box,” Bernard said. “We have to be very aggressive.”
ISC also is pondering whether the ticket-buying market could bear the cost of three separate, big-time race weekends. This is the first year Kansas Speedway broke up its season-ticket package, allowing fans to make separate buys for today’s Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 and Sunday’s NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series O’Reilly 250. KansasCity.com