In fact, Barnhart said during a national teleconference that next week's compatibility test at NASCAR's home in Daytona Beach, Fla., could be a preview of a race to come.
Previously, league officials insisted that Daytona only would be used as a preseason testing venue.
"We've got to take steps first," Barnhart said of the test. "But the goal should be to race down there sometime in the future."
Indy cars last raced at Daytona in 1959, the track's first season. But the Indy-cars were too fast for the high-banked oval, and two drivers were killed.
Marshall Teague died when his car flipped during a testing accident. George Amick's fatal crash came in the U.S. Auto Club's only points-paying race, a 100-mile (40-lap) event.
The test is next Tuesday and Wednesday. Barring any difficulties, Barnhart said the IRL will return for testing in the spring. The earliest a race could be held at Daytona is 2008. More at Indy Star
[Editor's Note: Unless the IRL race is run during Speedweeks in February with a stock car race, look for Daytona to be a big embarrassment for the league. As a standalone event there will be a huge expanse of empty aluminum grandstands. Daytona isn't open wheel racing territory and it's the home of NASCAR. Just as the IRL drew a small crowd at a great vacation destination like Orlando, so too will Daytona be a complete flop.]