Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Goodbye to the Edmonton Indy

Photo Credit: Chris Jones

Canadian open wheel racing fans have been punted into the tire barrier this week news concerning one of two IZOD IndyCar Series race venues above North America's 49th parallel has surfaced. Late Tuesday night on November 2nd, it was announced that talks between Edmonton city council and the race's promoter Octane Racing Group have broken down.
Edmonton city council, led by newly-reelected incumbent major Stephen Mandel, voted in July of 2010 to enter talks with Octane (who intended to take over event promotion duties from company Northlands) in order to run this major motor race weekend through 2013 at the Edmonton City Centre Airport. Complications set in when the present 1.96 mile temporary race circuit would become unavailable since the airport preferred to have the occupied runways open for air transport. Intent on relocating to a portion of the airport which is unused, this area also required a sizable investment to refurbish for the 2011 Edmonton IndyCar race event. Requiring a total 5.5 million dollar commitment from the government for the City of Edmonton, the race was discontinued for 2011. According to the City of Edmonton, the Indy race weekend had lost 9.2 million dollars through the previous two years leaving further investment in the event less than appetizing.

Following the news of the talks between the Octane and the City of Edmonton, an unnamed source within the IndyCar Series responded "We are disappointed that the city and the promoter were unable to reach an agreement on the venue changes. It's unfortunate that in a time when IndyCar is experiencing momentum and growth, the city would want to miss out on the opportunity to be part of it. We've enjoyed our time at Edmonton as the fans there truly embraced Indy car racing.”.

With the date erased from the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule, the league has indicated a desire to replace this Canadian event. One rumour has indicated that Octane Racing Group (promoters for the Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal) could possibly work out a deal to run the series in Montreal.

At present time (Tuesday, November 9th), the website for the Edmonton Indy is still up and running having planned for the 2011 race which seems highly unlikely to happen in the future.

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