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Phoenix Raceway prez: It’s up to IndyCar on possible return

Nov 10, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT

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For almost a decade, Phoenix International Raceway – once one of open-wheel racing’s traditional strongholds – has not staged an IndyCar event. And, according to PIR president Bryan Sperber, the series doesn’t appear too interested in returning to the Valley of the Sun.

Sperber said that he would love to have IndyCar back at his one-mile oval, but noted this morning that “the ball is in their court” according to The Associated Press.

“Hopefully, the interest in Phoenix International Raceway becomes sufficient enough that they would like to pursue that opportunity,” he said. “But up to now, that doesn’t look like that’s in the cards.”

An increase in IndyCar oval races has been clamored for by many within the sport’s fan base, but these types of events have run into problems at the box office in recent years. IndyCar has only six ovals on its 2014 schedule: Indianapolis, Texas, Pocono, Iowa, Milwaukee, and Auto Club Speedway in Calfornia.

Sperber doesn’t want his track to take a financial bath on staging an IndyCar event, which is understandable. According to the AP report, he would have to spend close to $1 million to market such a race and cannot afford IndyCar’s current sanctioning fees with no guarantees on a decent attendance.

PIR held IndyCar/Indy Racing League races from 1996 to 2005, and both USAC and CART races from 1964 to 1995. Since 2006, NASCAR has provided the track’s major events.

  1. manik56 - Nov 10, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    A new oval on the IndyCar slate would be welcome. But this guy ruined his own track when they reconfigured it so there is no guarantee the track would produce a great race. Sperber’s attitude towards IndyCar says it all. He doesn’t want a partner, he wants a hand out. He would be wise to pay attention to what his peer is doing in Fontana. Ms. Zucker along with IndyCar have a great race with a title sponsor and did this by working together. Not by putting all the burden on one party. So no thank you Bryan. Enjoy your tin tops.

  2. tgin52 - Nov 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Mr Sperber needs to look to his stands when NASCAR is there and the stands are half full. I know IndyCar has their own problems but when the venues decide to go for higher prices than trying to get the fans to come back, everyone loses. IndyCar needs more ovals but why should they pay for it if the track owners won’t support them.

    • indycarseries500 - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      They sold out all the grandstand seats for today’s race.

  3. Jeff - Nov 11, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Heard the same thing from MIS, Michigan, president too. It’s on IndyCar.
    Let’s face it though, IndyCar and a majority of its fans it seems have no interest in oval races or tracks anymore.

    • indycarseries500 - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      What about Road America then? It has nothing to do with what type of circuit it is. Maybe Brian Sperber should talk to Gillian Zucker at Auto Club Speedway and learn how to make it work if he really wants them there which he obviously doesn’t.

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