IRL won’t race in Montreal

UPDATE #2 This Toronto Sun article is basically a retraction of their previous story saying the IRL would race in Montreal. 03/10/05 Montreal Molson Indy promoter Normand Legault denied yesterday that he was negotiating to bring an Indy Racing League event to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in 2006. A media report earlier this week suggested that former Canadian Grand Prix chief operating officer Jean Paul Blais had spoken to the IRL about bringing that series to Montreal. "If they thought they were talking to someone in charge of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, they were talking to the wrong person. I certainly haven't spoken to them," Legault said. "My lease with the city limits me to two races per year, so I'm not looking for races, and definitely not in the short term." With two more years left on his contracts with Formula One and Champ Car, Legault said he intends to honor both deals. Globe and Mail 03/09/05 We already proved why the rumor that the IRL was going to race in Montreal is 'false' in this rumor. A reader provides more background information. Dear, I just wanted to give readers another bit of information regarding the rumors floating around about an additional race being held Montréal. The Isle Notre Dame, where the circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located, is for the most part a public park (except for a small area where the Casino facilities are located). The park is very popular amongst cyclists, rollerbladers, row boaters (the former Olympic rowing basin is in the park), and swimmers (there is also a small lake on the island). Because of our short-lived summers, the prospect of closing the park for an additional weekend on top of the two weekends already for the F1 and Champ Car races would likely cause many of these folks to be up in arms. In fact, some of these groups along with some environmentalists already voiced opposition when the Champ Car race was proposed. NASCAR may be able to throw enough money at the city and promoter to trump over the demands of the Montréal citizens (especially when it means the assured hordes of New-England tourists will make the trip up), but I find the prospect of a third open-wheel race very unlikely. I don't think the IRL has the clout or money that NASCAR does, and it certainly does not have the type of following here or elsewhere to ensure a well attended event. I would love to see estimates from their camp as to how many people from New England and Ontario they think will show up versus the F1, NASCAR, or even Champ Car races. Try as they may, I think the IRL will have a tough time convincing the government, citizens, and the promoter (Norman Legault) that there could be a successful event here, Carpentier included or not. Shaun M., Montréal, QC

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