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Report: IndyCar Series may return to Road America in 2014

Jun 19, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT

While sports cars still compete there, Indy cars have not raced at Road America since 2007. That could change though in 2014. Getty Images

As NASCAR’s Nationwide Series prepares for its fourth go-round on the challenging and twisting 4.05-mile, 14-turn road course at Road America in central Wisconsin this Saturday, a report Wednesday suggests that Indy cars may soon return there, perhaps as early as next season.

SpeedTV.com’s Robin Miller reported that the open-wheel series is considering hosting a return to two annual races in the Badger State, continuing its run at The Milwaukee Mile in suburban West Allis, Wisc., as well racing for the first time in its history at Road America.

Since 1956, there have been 89 open-wheel races at Milwaukee, spanning from USAC to CART/Champ Car to the Izod IndyCar Series, which has raced there for nine of the last 10 years, including last weekend.

Meanwhile, for 25 years Road America was the exclusive province of CART and the succeeding Champ Car World Series until the latter went out of business following the 2007 season. Open-wheel cars have not raced there since.

It was also during that 25-year reign at Road America that CART/Champ Car ran two races per year — one each at both tracks — oftentimes with sellout crowds at both venues, drawing tens of thousands of fans from throughout the Midwest and Canada.

Now a move is underway to bring the IndyCar series to Road America as early as next season.

Road America president George Bruggenthies told Miller, “I’ve reached out to IndyCar and had a meeting with (IndyCar CEO) Mark Miles back in April at Long Beach and we’d like to bring Indy cars back.”

But for as much as Bruggenthies would like to see open-wheel racing back at his bucolic track in the middle of America’s Dairyland, IndyCar has been non-committal. Part of the reason is the contract to promote the Milwaukee race, which has been held by team owner and former Indy car star driver Michael Andretti for the last two races there, expired after last weekend’s race.

“Bobby Rahal sat in on our meeting and expounded on the virtues of Road America to him (Miles) and we discussed possible dates but I haven’t heard from him since,” Bruggenthis said. “I reached out again last weekend because we were only an hour apart when (Miles) was in Milwaukee, but I never got a response. I know he’d like to end the season around Labor Day and we’d be fine with a September race.”

Miles told Miller in an email that he wants to see how things play out with Milwaukee and whether Andretti will extend his contract to promote the race before committing to adding a race at Road America.

But it appears Andretti Autosport wants to continue promoting the Milwaukee event, which drew around 25,000 fans on race day this past Sunday (although far below the crowds of 40,000-plus that flocked to CART races there in the past).

“A couple of things need to come together to extend this deal but we’re determined to get it done,” Kevin Healey, managing director of the Milwaukee race for Andretti, told Miller. “It was a two-year deal with the understanding of trying to make it long-term if it worked out.”
  1. wallio - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    this is a great idea. which is why it won’t happen lol.

    • f1fan1 - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      I’m guessing the IRL will try to glom onto the existing sportscar weekend. Hope RA doesn’t consider it as they would ruin an otherwise stellar racing weekend.

      • indycarseries500 - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:35 PM

        Oh yes the 95+% crossover audience would be so upset if they got more racing on their weekend at Road America they may just not buy tickets at all.

        Bet they double attendance for the Sports Car race date if they did and like I said 95% of that audience would return Sunday for the IndyCars who with their crappy attendance still out draw both sports car series. Do you even think before you troll?

  2. manik56 - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Great idea! Put the race in September. It’s not like that state has any Packer or Badger fans. It’s not like those teams are ever good. I am sure it will be well attended. Lol! Quit trying to compete against football. Start early and end Labor Day weekend.

  3. midtec2005 - Jun 19, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    DOOO ITTTTTTT!!!!

    Everyone wants to see this happen. This is a breathtaking track.

  4. Matthew - Jun 19, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Reblogged this on The Open Wheel and commented:
    Road America’s been a long-time staple of IndyCar racing; it all-but-deserves to have a place on the calendar once more.

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