On 12 June 2012, IndyCar canceled its street race scheduled for 19 August 2012 in Quingdao, China. Last fall’s November race was also canceled. IndyCar’s CEO, RANDY BERNARD, said “We wanted to give the China race every opportunity to move forward and be successful, but IndyCar has been notified by the promoter that the event is canceled for 2012. A decision had to be made to allow IndyCar and its participants to plan accordingly for the second half of the season.”
Bernard has said that he wants 16 races this season. IndyCar will be seeking a possible race replacement.
The race is on now to suggest venues and/or to be the new 2012 race.
After the cancellation, contact was made by GILL CAMPBELL, CEO/General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey CA, on behalf of the track to IndyCar saying “If there was anything we can do to help, let us know.”
Campbell said having an IndyCar race in 2012 is “certainly a possibility. IndyCar has a place here. It looks good, it sounds good and a lot of people would come to watch. We certainly would not be adverse. Having an IndyCar race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is on our want list, and would be most welcome.”
Campbell said she has received a lot of supportive emails since the China announcement was made.
Laguna Seca has a 23-year race history with CART/Champ Car Series.
CART never raced at Sonoma, formerly known as Infineon Raceway.
Distance between venues is sometimes a consideration.
The current one-year IndyCar contract with Sonoma (formerly known as Infineon Raceway) runs through the August race this year, and contains a clause which prohibits another IndyCar race within 200 miles.
Google Maps shows a 154-mile one-way route on Highway 880 between Mazda Raceway and Sonoma.
It is not unprecedented for the two Northern/Central California tracks to each hold a race of the same series in the same year, such as American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am Rolex Series, and American Motorcyclists Association.
Texas Motor Speedway was contacted by Bernard regarding a September or October date for a replacement race, but the offer was declined by track owner, EDDIE GOSSAGE, citing its upcoming NASCAR races.
Texas will have two Indycar races next year – TMS and a street race in Houston. Distance isn’t a factor, said a TMS spokesman, as “The driving distance is four and a half hours.”
At the present time, Auto Club Speedway is holding the Indycar season’s finale race on 15 September 2012. While the date is not contractually guaranteed to be the season’s finale, with Indycar’s guidance, the race is being touted as the Indy Championship Weekend. So, according to DAVID TALLEY, Director of Communications, “We’re going about our business.”
Las Vegas Motor Speedway had previously offered to again be this year’s season finale race, but Indycar declined.
Bernard said “We are working with our promoters that host events in the second half of our calendar to keep them apprised of how the date of a potential new race could impact our current schedule.”
ROBIN MILLER of SPEED.com said Sunday that after this weekend’s successful return to the Milwaukee Mile, some race fans are suggesting that Road America is a likely venue. It already has scheduled The Road Race Showcase 16-19 August 2012, featuring ALMS on Saturday and a Corvette World Tribute on Sunday. General Motors, which owns the Corvette brand as well as Chevrolet, was the title sponsor earlier this year for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
Fans suggest it could be a double-header weekend at the Elkhart Lake road course in Wisconsin, with IndyCar racing on Sunday. IndyCar has run with ALMS at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the past three years.
CURT CAVIN of the Indianapolis Star reported Saturday that MICHAEL ANDRETTI’, who is credited with saving the Milwaukee Mile venue, said “IndyCar has a window” to talk with Road America, which is sixty-two miles away, as per Google Maps. Andretti’s RacingOn sports marketing firm recently stepped up and promoted the Milwaukee Mile race at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds.
Road America president GEORGE BRUGGENTHIES was said to be at the Milwaukee race, and according to Miller, Bruggenthies said he would be talking with Bernard this week.
AMY KONRATH, IndyCar Vice President of Publications and Communications , said “Each contract is unique and it is our policy to not disclose the details of our sanctioning agreements.”
Let the countdown begin.