PPIR president Rob Johnson, who denied a sale is in the works, said he bowed out of negotiations with the IRL because the track wasn't given an early or midsummer date next year.
But the IRL said two additional issues played into the separation: the track's pending change of ownership, and Johnson's inability to promise the current or future owners' commitment to install the SAFER Barrier, a shock-absorber wall inside the permanent wall.
"The truth is we couldn't get a date that we liked, so that's why we didn't get an event," Johnson said Tuesday when the IRL released a 14-race schedule, three fewer events than this year. "As for the SAFER Barrier, it's no issue. We'll put them in for next year. We've known for months that we'd need SAFER Barriers for NASCAR and the IRL. I talked to the IRL in the middle of the summer and told them of our plans."
IRL executive Ken Ungar said he has discussed the SAFER Barrier with Johnson. But we don't have a definite promise from the track to install it, (and) coupled with the fact the ownership with the track is uncertain, we wouldn't know who would install it," he said.
He added, "I asked Rob to specifically identify the owners, and he couldn't." Said Johnson, who works for PPIR Investments LLC, "We have no deal to announce as far as new ownership." Denver Post