After exploring various options, IndyCar announced yesterday that the series will not replace the cancelled race scheduled to be held in China later this season.
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said, during the announcement, that rather than finding a temporary replacement, it was in the best interests of the series to go with the 15 races currently on the 2012 schedule.
“The more we explored the more we felt like we were rushing,” Bernard said. “We have to make sure that when we add events to our roster that they have long-term potential and are given every opportunity to be successfully promoted.”
Earlier this month, IndyCar announced that the inaugural event in China, slated to run on Aug. 19, had been cancelled after local government slammed on the brakes. The race was to be run on a temporary street course in Qingdao and simultaneously with the city’s International Beer Festival. Bernard was quoted by ESPN as saying, “The new Mayor took office on March 28 and it was his opinion that (the race) shouldn’t be run at the same time as the beer festival.”
Among the options being explored was adding a race at Road America, in Wisconsin, but no agreement was reached by the imposed deadline on June 24. The organization also approached Texas Motor Speedway about a race, but the track president declined.
As it stands, there are six races left in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. The series finale will be Sept. 15, in Fontana, California. The last race of the season will be extended to a 500-mile race.
“We wanted to do something special to enhance the excitement of the season finale and renew the tradition of 500-mile, open-wheel races in Southern California,” Bernard said. The California racetrack last hosted a 500-mile race in 2002, when the series was known as Champ Car. “We think it’s something our fans will enjoy and adds another element to what is already shaping up to be an exciting championship battle.”
With the season winding down, Will Power leads the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers’ standings. The Fontana race will, however, decide the winner of the A.J. Foyt Trophy, awarded to the top driver on oval tracks. Ryan Hunter-Ray and Tony Kanaan are currently tied in that competition.
The next race on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule is the Honda Indy Toronto, on July 8.