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Question of the Day
Bernard had been working with promoters in Qingdao the last several months to salvage the race, which was announced in November to run at the same time as the city’s International Beer Festival. The inaugural race would have been held on a temporary 3.87-mile street circuit in the city that hosted the Olympic sailing competition four years ago.
Despite an existing contract, new leadership in local government balked at the IndyCar race. Discussions began with IndyCar about moving the event to a new date or new location.
When faced with a deadline, Bernard said event promoters canceled the race.
“The new mayor took office on March 28, and it was his opinion that it shouldn’t be run at the same time as the beer festival,” Bernard told The Associated Press. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time at that point to reschedule or find a new location. We evaluated several different options and it was finally in the promoters’ best interest to cancel the event.”
Bernard said IndyCar is evaluating what it can recoup from the existing contract.
“I think anytime we put a new international race on the schedule, that risk is always there,” said Penske Racing team president Tim Cindric. “It’s not too surprising. We’ve seen this movie before with international races. You don’t really believe it until you see it.”
As for what Bernard will do to fill the hole in the IndyCar schedule, he said he’s looking at several different options.
“I don’t think we need a decision right this minute,” he said. “When we do it, we need to do it right and make sure it’s the best fit for the series and the schedule and the championship race.”
He did not reveal what he’s considering, but there’s speculation IndyCar could make a second stop at Texas Motor Speedway, on Oct. 7.
“That’s something we have to think about,” said TMS President Eddie Gossage, who hosted the IndyCar season finale from 1999 through 2004. Texas hosts a critical race in NASCAR’s championship series on Nov. 4, and Gossage would have to evaluate if a second IndyCar event would have a negative impact on the NASCAR race.
“You wouldn’t want to do something that hurts either event,” he said. “But we’ll think about it, and we’ll make a decision real quickly.”
Pocono officials say their track is not an option.
There are other intriguing venues that Bernard can’t negotiate with just yet because they are located in noncompete mileage restrictions with existing IndyCar venues. For example, if Bernard was interested in a return to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.., he could not speak to those promoters until after this weekend’s race at Milwaukee.
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