Plans for an IndyCar race in Norfolk were killed recently when city officials were not able to finalize a deal with IndyCar Series CEO Mark Miles.
The race, with the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya, Marco Andretti and Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, was kept close to the vest–the city actually did an economic impact study last year, but the $18 million it would cost to put on the race may have been a little too much–especially with a new city council and new mayor ready to take office.
Norfolk City manager Marcus Jones was excited about the project, but said the decision to kill the project was “amicable" among all those involved.
A group of local businessmen looking to make the race happen say they are disappointed, but are glad the city at least considered it.
The race course would have been 2.4 miles long through the streets of Downtown Norfolk, starting next to the USS Wisconsin and finishing up on Main Street.
City officials attended a race in St. Petersburg two years ago, and a group also met with Indycar owner Roger Penske–who offered his full support.
There is a chance the race could be revisited, perhaps looking ahead four or five years from now, but for now plans for a race in Norfolk are dead. WAVY-TV
It almost happened in 1987, now Norfolk officials are once again talking about the possibility of bringing a road race to the streets of downtown.
The Sportswrap has learned that a group of racing enthusiasts are talking with city officials and Festevents about bringing a race to downtown perhaps in the next couple of years. It is still very much in the exploratory stage, but a spot on the Indy Car tour might be a possibility–these cars race in cities such as Birmingham and St. Petersburg, along with "big" street races in Long Beach, Detroit and Toronto. A race has been added in New Orleans this year, and through the streets of Boston next year.
Other possibilities include the American LeMans Series circuit and the Tudor Sportscar circuit which is closed wheel cars–most of these races are shown live on FOX Sports, or NBC giving the cities national attention. The pros are, Baltimore for example saw crowds of over 150,000 come out to watch races through their downtown. And saw an estimated economic impact of $130 million over three years. But it cost the city $7-million in road improvements and additional funds in city services. And downtown residents complained about the road closures and barriers put up prior to the races.
Norfolk City spokesperson Lori Crouch says the proposed project is "still in it's infancy, and that the city and Festevents are always looking for new exciting ways to showcase downtown and bring exciting events to the city".
So there is a lot to be discussed, before we hear the sounds of engines through downtown Norfolk. Bruce Rader/wavy.com