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IndyCar Series closer to returning to PIR

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RaceMan

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http://www.azcentral.com/story/spor...eries-phoenix-international-raceway/31669817/

Phoenix International Raceway and the Verizon IndyCar Series have a day and date — Saturday evening, April 2, 2016 — and a race distance — 250 miles — but not yet a final deal for the open-wheel tour to return to the Avondale oval for the first time since 2005.

Several important issues, including specific financial details, remain unresolved.

“This is the closest we’ve been (to a deal) in 10 years,” PIR President Bryan Sperber told azcentral sports.

“We working hard on it but it’s not a done deal. There have been things we’ve worked hard on in the past that didn’t (happen).”

If it happens, 250 miles would be the longest IndyCar race ever at PIR, and its first major night race since 2010.

The April 2 date would be three weeks after PIR’s March 13 CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. PIR would aggressively promote the IndyCar event to fans throughout the NASCAR weekend, including displays and, possibly, driver autograph sessions.

Any agreement likely is several weeks away, although IndyCar CEO Mark Miles has said he’d like to announce next year’s schedule by this season’s end. Sperber plans to attend the championship finale, Aug. 30 in Sonoma, Calif., to gauge how much support team and series sponsors would commit to a PIR race. IndyCar doesn’t guarantee event promoters several million dollars in TV rights fees, as NASCAR does, so corporate ticket and hospitality sales and marketing promotions are key to an event’s financial success.
The last time PIR and IndyCar had meaningful conversations, in 2012, the series’ then-standard sanction fee of $1.5 million was considered too high to make a race financially viable. That was before Miles became CEO. Jay Frye, a former NASCAR Cup team executive, now is chief revenue officer for IndyCar’s parent company and has been the point man in negotiations with Sperber.

“I think there’s genuine enthusiasm on both sides,” Frye told azcentral sports. “Phoenix is very important to the league, our partners and fans. We’re making every attempt to explore every option to go back there.”

PIR was built in 1964 with IndyCars in mind and has hosted 61 races. But PIR’s event, and IndyCar in general, lost popularity because of the long CART-IRL split as the two groups competed to control the series. They reunified in 2008 but had long since been overtaken by NASCAR as America’s most popular type of motorsport.

IndyCar has already struck a deal to return to another traditional venue next year, Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., absent from the schedule since 2007. And a new Labor Day street course race in Boston has been announced. But the status of four other races on this year’s calendar — Milwaukee, New Orleans, Pocono, Pa., and Fontana, Calif. — is uncertain.

Many drivers and team owners, including 16-time Indianapolis 500 winning car owner Roger Penske, have long called for a return to PIR.

“That’s a place we need to be,” Penske said.

“This (PIR) is our track,” said three-time Indy 500 and PIR winner Johnny Rutherford, the series’ pace car driver. “It was built for us.”
 

RaceMan

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I hope this is true! I would love to watch a race at the track. OH and for it to be a night race, even better! I have wanted NASCAR to give the Cup guys a night race at PIR sine they took it away in 2011...
 

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http://www.motorsport.com/indycar/news/auto-club-dropped-from-2016-indycar-schedule

The 2016 IndyCar schedule continues to take shape as Fontana falls off the schedule and Phoenix eyes a return.

Auto Club Speedway is back off the IndyCar schedule. The track opened in 1997, hosting CART (and later IndyCar) from that time until 2005.

In 2012, the two mile D-shaped oval made a comeback, hosting the season finale. Before this news, some thought it would return as the title-decider next season.

This year, the race was moved to late June and hosted what many consider the most enthralling IndyCar race of the season, but that day was not without controversy. Despite the excitement of the 500-miler, there was a disconcerting lack of bodies in the stands.

Who will stay and who will go?

The 2016 schedule will look very different from the current season with the addition of Road America and a Boston street race confirmed.

Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona is set to return after a decade-long hiatus. Motorsport.com understands that a race scheduled for April is in the works.

There are also rumors circulating that series officials are looking at a race in Mexico City at the recently upgraded Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, which will host a Formula 1 Grand Prix later this year.

NOLA Motorsports Park should lose its place on the calendar along with Fontana. The Grand Prix of Louisiana was marred by inclement weather and has also lost promoter Andretti Sports Marketing, who has filed a federal lawsuit against the venue. The future of the famed Milwaukee Mile is also up in the air.

Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles said in July that the 2016 season will be longer and include more events than 2015.
 

MattSRD28

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They say PIR is their track but Indycar has never been to PIR after its most recent reconfiguration. It's not the Phoenix that they remember.
 

RaceMan

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Confirmed the date will be April 2nd. Announcement tomorrow.
PROOF:

As a valued 2016 Season Ticket Holder, we wanted you to be among the first to know about our big news! Bryan R. Sperber, President of Phoenix International Raceway, will be making a special announcement tomorrow that the Verizon IndyCar Series will be racing at PIR on Saturday, April 2, 2016.
We're very excited to be adding a new event to the schedule and to be bringing back the excitement of Saturday night racing under the lights. We'd like you to be the first to join us for the thrilling event. Tickets will go on sale to the general public Tuesday, October 27 at noon but don't worry, we've gone ahead and put your NASCAR Weekend grandstand seat(s) on-hold for you until December 31, 2015.
You'll also enjoy the same great savings (over 20% savings in all areas) on IndyCar as you do with your NASCAR tickets so why not round out your year with some exciting open-wheel racing. Need more incentive? Every Grandstand ticket will also be your admission to the pits prior to the race. No extra pass needed!
No need to wait until tomorrow, you can secure your seats today.
You know the names now get close to the action.
Looking for more? Camp with us too! Outside Reserved RV spaces will also be available starting Tuesday, October 27. To add Verizon IndyCar Series tickets to your 2016 racing schedule log on to your account at PhoenixRaceway.com or call your dedicated Season Ticket Holder line at 877-PIR-XTRA (877-747-9872) today.
-Phoenix International Raceway
 

evan07

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Man that's awesome. If I was out that way I would definitely have to go to that.
 
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