Edmonton IndyCar race to be saved, add NASCAR race? UPDATE #4 Also expected to be announced at Tuesday's State of the Union IndyCar event is the return of the Edmonton race July 24.
12/18/10 IndyCar has not added Edmonton back onto the 2011 schedule yet because all the details are not finalized, but Randy Bernard said on this week's IndyCar Inside Track podcast that everything looks good and it's just a matter of getting it done.
11/27/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today with this report.
11/23/10 The July 24 race in Edmonton could be back on the Izod IndyCar Series schedule as early as Friday, the Edmonton Journal reports.
The event was canceled last month amid squabbles over the cost of moving the circuit from the west side of City Centre Airport to the east side to keep the only active runway operational. The cost was estimated at $3 million.
But a proposal is on the table that would take the cost off the hands of the taxpayers, the newspaper quoted Mayor Stephen Mandel as saying.
The City of Edmonton previously agreed to spend $5.5 million in sponsorship and $1.5 million in services over a three-year contract with the Montreal-based promoter, Octane Racing Group. Council members deliberated over the proposal on Monday night before tabling the issue in order to get more information. 11/16/10 Could Edmonton go from one to zero major auto racing events and then, suddenly, end up with two?
Is it possible this city could go from losing the Honda Indy Edmonton to ending up with back-to-back weekend festivals of speed?
For the sake of a $2-3 million paving bill is there more at stake here than “just” the summer showcase open wheel IndyCar Series race, but a NASCAR stock car race as well?
Could there be a NASCAR Nationwide Series event to go with the IndyCar race on either the preceding or following weekend beginning in 2012?
Is that part of the solution to bringing back Edmonton’s IndyCar Series race?
“I’m pretty sure Octane is taking a look at it, but the first priority is to make sure Indy happens,” Go Indy committee chairman Richard Wong said Monday.
This week, says Wong, should tell the tale.
“This week is critical to having a decision moving forward.
“I’m optimistic,” said Wong, who describes his role as being “a small part of the groundswell happening here” to save the race taken off the IndyCar schedule after a press conference new three-year deal with new promoters Octane Motorsports Events Inc., the Indy Racing League and Mayor Stephen Mandel on race week back in July.
“My understanding is that we’ll know if it has come together this week,” said Wong.
While the IndyCar race is everything right now “NASCAR is of interest to me,” said the manager of the Sutton Place Hotel.
“That would be a pretty good 10 days. But, again, we’ve got to get the Indy back first.”
Octane is the promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 race and the NASCAR Nationwide event in Montreal.
The NASCAR schedule is already out for next year. There is only one weekend open for a Nationwide event, the same July 23-25 weekend.
Most likely, the event would have to be for 2012 after a 2011 Honda Indy Edmonton success.
Montreal’s NASCAR Nationwide date for 2011 is Aug. 20.
Like IndyCar, there is no NASCAR Nationwide Series event anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. The nearest races are at Road America in Wisconsin, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Octane had no response Monday to the possibility of ending up with back-to-back weekends of big-league auto racing in Edmonton.
Having two races to bring to Edmonton does make for interesting possibilities. But the city could just as easily have zero, although there are positive quotes coming from several sources now.
“It is looking good,” said Octane spokesman Normand Prieur Monday.
“That’s all I can say for now. The answers should come this week.”
IndyCar Series point man Terry Angstadt is on the record as being supportive of that happening despite the embarrassment of having to remove Edmonton from the schedule.
Indications are that the Edmonton business community is very close to closing up some creative solutions to guarantee Octane a way to get the paving done without additional money from the City of Edmonton.
“The big business community must step up,” said Wong. “Edmonton’s biggest businesses need to be on board with this event.” Slam.canoe.ca