IndyCar pitch for race at Suffolk Downs rejected

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the head of IndyCar's parent group shut the door on a Grand Prix race in Boston this year after the local promoters made a last-ditch attempt to move the course to Suffolk Downs, sources tell the Herald.

Walsh and Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman and Co., which owns the Verizon IndyCar series, put out an unusual joint statement this afternoon pledging to work toward reviving an IndyCar race "in the future" but making clear it would be with a new promoter, not Boston Grand Prix.

Sources say the statement was prompted by Boston Grand Prix CEO John Casey's behind-the-scenes maneuvering to get Suffolk Downs in East Boston as a temporary venue for the IndyCar race this Labor Day.

Casey spoke to Suffolk Downs owners and flew in race designer Tony Cotman today but the parent IndyCar group led by Miles rejected the idea, according to several sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

"While it is disappointing that IndyCar will not race in Boston this year, we look forward to continuing our work together to bring IndyCar to Boston in the future," Walsh and Miles said in a joint statement. "Boston has always been a great partner for IndyCar and we are confident that with a strong local promoter the race can be a great success."

The statement's reference to a "strong local promoter" is a clear signal they don't want Boston Grand Prix or Casey involved. Sources said Miles is angry at Casey for his surprise move last week to blow up the planned Labor Day race in the Seaport District without telling anyone at IndyCar or City Hall.

Casey blamed the Walsh administration for his decision to cancel, embarrassing the mayor and leaving IndyCar with a huge opening in its 2016 race schedule. Joe Battenfeld/Boston Herald

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