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DATE News (chronologically)
08/04/10
track news
Indy to steal NASCAR race from ORP  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  The NASCAR Nationwide Series is staying at O'Reilly Raceway Park, its home for 28 years.  Late Monday, NASCAR informed the NHRA, which owns ORP, the 2011 race would not be moved to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which in the wake of attendance drops is looking to beef up its schedule on Brickyard 400 weekend.  "It's very good news," ORP spokesman Scott Smith said. "A lot of people were very much wanting to see it stay here."  Indy Star

07/30/10 Indianapolis Motor Speedway's answer to dwindling interest in NASCAR's Brickyard 400 apparently includes acquiring the Nationwide Series race held at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

IMS chief executive officer Jeff Belskus confirmed interest in hosting stock car racing's No. 2 series, which has been at ORP for 28 years. It draws an annual crowd of 30,000 the night before the 400.

"Our partners have mentioned it to us," Belskus said Thursday. "We are looking for ways to invest in the Brickyard 400."

Acquiring rights to the Nationwide race would bring a cash infusion to IMS, which saw attendance for last weekend's race plummet. The television revenue from hosting a Nationwide race is worth about $500,000, or about half of what's needed to offset the sanctioning fee.

Increasing the IMS ticket price for Saturday -- currently $15 -- likely would cover much of the rest of the cost, but the real advantage is a bolstering of the weekend schedule.

This year, IMS had two hour-long practices Friday, followed by qualifying and two practices Saturday. With Nationwide involved, IMS could showcase nearly non-stop track activity both days, which would be good for suite sales and hospitality.

A Nationwide race likely would be run Saturday afternoon at a distance of 200 or 300 miles.

Former IMS boss Tony George always resisted the temptation to go after the Nationwide race because he wanted to be a good neighbor to ORP and its owner, NHRA. The other conflict was the Brickyard's sponsor. Allstate, a rival insurance giant, paid upward of $2 million a year over a four-year contract.

It isn't clear what ORP, which also has a Camping World Truck Series race, would do if it loses Nationwide to IMS. Belskus said a decision by his organization and NASCAR "hasn't been made yet," and it's possible Nationwide could run an additional race at ORP on a different weekend. Indy Star

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