Milwaukee Mile wants IndyCar race in June
The owners of the Milwaukee Mile are in discussions with IndyCar to race at the track in June.
IndyCar has run seven events at the 1-mile oval since 2004, but it’s not on the schedule for next season that was announced in late December. The IndyCar schedule currently only has 15 events, and needs one more to fulfill its contract with title sponsor Izod.
Patrice Harris, communications manager for the Wisconsin State Fair Park, which oversees operation of the Milwaukee Mile, said the track has been in discussion with IndyCar about getting on the 2012 schedule but needs a promoter.
“IndyCar isn’t going to be the promoter, so we’re talking to a lot of different people and trying to see if we can make it work,” she said. “We’re in the investigation phase, but we’re hopeful we can get IndyCar here in June.”
The Milwaukee Mile began hosting auto racing events in 1903. Although it began hosting NASCAR races in 1984, it is most closely linked to Indy-style racing.
The track withdrew from hosting major racing events in 2010 after previous track promoters ran into financial problems and the Wisconsin State Fair Park board of directors could not find a suitable replacement. A new promoter was found to bring IndyCar back to Milwaukee last year, but the race drew one of the smallest crowds of the season.
NASCAR dropped it from its Nationwide and Truck Series schedules at the end of the 2009 season and has not been back.
Drivers seemed overwhelmingly in support of returning to Milwaukee on Friday after IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard asked on Twitter: “Who would like to see milwaukee on 2012 IZOD INDYCAR schedule?” It sparked a flurry of discussion, and many active IndyCar drivers responded positively, including 2011 Milwaukee winner Dario Franchitti.
“Looks like the consensus is everyone wants Milwaukee,” Graham Rahal said in a series of Twitter posts. “I promise the fans and other drivers can back this up, Milwaukee produces some of the best racing ever. Traffic, passing, cars go off big. It’s just an incredible place to race. For the drivers it’s so on edge. To be fast you have to hang on and that’s just an awesome feeling!”
Adding Milwaukee would give IndyCar a much-needed oval on its schedule. The series wants to market itself as the most versatile in the world, but needs a mix of ovals and street and road courses to back up the claim.
The announced 2012 schedule has four ovals on it — Indianapolis, Texas, Iowa and California. The planned season-finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was dropped as IndyCar investigates the compatibility of its cars on high-banked ovals in the wake of Dan Wheldon’s fatal accident there in October.