Indy cars may roll into New Hampshire next year

UPDATE Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager at New Hampshire Motor Speedway confirmed yesterday that the IndyCar Series will most likely return to “The Magic Mile."

“There is 100 percent interest from both the IndyCar Series and Speedway Motorsports Inc. to having the IndyCar Series return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway," Gappens said in a telephone interview.

After meeting with IndyCar Series executive Terry Angstadt last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Gappens said open-wheel racing could return to NHMS as soon as the 2009 season and definitely in 2010.If it doesn’t happen in 2009, it’s almost guaranteed for 2010 when (IndyCar Series) can do their schedule from scratch," Gappens said.

Gappens believes a perfect scenario would be to have the IndyCar Series race at NHMS next season in either late July or the beginning of August.

The last time an IndyCar Series race was held at NHMS was in 1998.

Since then, Gappens has received much correspondence from open-wheel fans in the New England area thirsty for the return of IndyCar.

“Danica Patrick’s win this season in Japan and Helio Castroneves winning ‘Dancing with the Stars’ has just been huge for the sport," Gappens said.

John Griffin, vice president of public relations for the IndyCar Series, said via e-mail that the series is extremely confident it will return to New Hampshire.

“We definitely have interest in returning to NHMS – the geographic location gives us a presence we don’t already have and the oval layout is one that is very attractive for IndyCar racing," Griffin said.

Griffin also said the only real dilemma would be if the IndyCar Series could squeeze a possible date into the 2009 schedule. Boston Herald

06/12/08 New Hampshire Motor Speedway rolled out its version of an "economic stimulus" package yesterday and it may include Indy car racing in 2009.

Speedway vice president and general manager Jerry Gappens said he believes there is a "60-70 percent" chance that the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series, which races in the famed Indianapolis 500, will park a new race here on the one-mile oval next season.

Gappens visited Indy car administrators at the Indy 500 and recently at the IRL race at Texas Motor Speedway.

"Interest is 100 percent on both sides," Gappens said. "The key component is what they want to do with their race in Japan."

Any Indy car race in New Hampshire would fall between the speedway's two NASCAR Sprint Cup races June 29 and Sept. 14. NHMS employs nearly 5,000 on race weekends and seats 100,000. Gappens has said that a crowd of 40,000 would make the Indy cars successful here.

"But wait, there's more," is standard operating procedure for the promoter Gappens, who is the point man for NHMS and its aggressive ownership, the publicly traded Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI)

Gappens' immediate "economic stimulus" revealed yesterday also included plenty for race fans.

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