(Originally posted by Paul to Planet-IRL.com.)
Following the Indy Lights qualifying this afternoon, news broke that an IndyCar owners’ meeting was being held at Chicagoland Speedway to address the future of the IndyCar Series. After the Indy Lights race, President of the IRL Commercial Division Terry Angstadt stopped by the media center to update reporters on some of the issues raised during that meeting. I missed the beginning of the conversation, but here is a smattering of information I was able to glean from listening in:
- The League continues to move toward a new formula for 2012. Based on where the League is now and continuing to work with their partners, Dallara, Honda, and Firestone, the League expects costs to be dramatically reduced by the time the new formula is ready to be introduced, especially from where they were just a few years ago.
- Has there been any re-engagement with with Loudon? “No.” The IRL continues to realize that they struggle in markets that already have two Sprint Cup dates, especially when the racing season is as short as it is in New England. The League understands that SMI feels differently and this is just one of those differences of business opinions. The likelihood of seeing Loudon on the schedule at any time in the future seems quite remote.
- Talks with Milwaukee have continued with the new promotional team. Bruce Martin brought up the fact that the new team was actually at Chicagoland Speedway today. Terry had no clue that was the case. Terry did say that the financial issues between the Milwaukee Mile and the Indy Racing League have not moved toward resolution but also admitted that it isn’t necessarily the responsibility of the new promoters to do so.
- Terry said that last year he was 90% certain that the League would have a title sponsor within a short period of time. Of course, not long after making that comment, the stock market fell through the floor. Terry says he still feels confident that a title sponsor will be secured and that if talks with his #1 option falls through, they have a #2 option in line as well.
- Though the decision is ultimately Danica’s to make, the League has had good conversations with IMG concerning Danica staying in IndyCar for 2010 and beyond. In the end, it will come down to whatever Danica wants to do — how often she wants to race, what venues she wants to race at, etc. It was interesting to note that Danica would like to see more of the marketing include other drivers in the Series.
- The Indy Racing League still would love to go back to Phoenix. Terry did confirm that ISC offered the IRL a Thursday night race a few years ago. Probably the most interesting thing I heard said was (paraphrased) “If the League can build the schedule to include mostly venues that make financial sense, then we can afford to run in a couple of markets that we simply want to be at, not necessarily solely for financial reasons.” Basically, if we can get enough markets to pay us the hefty sanctions fee we would like, we can afford to go to some places that don’t want to pay us squat. My opinion? I like his way of thinking!
This is by no means everything that Terry said, and I’m sure that Bruce Martin, Curt Cavin, Robin Miller, Jeff Olson, and Mr. Oreo will expand on things more and detail what was said at the beginning of the conversation. I found these all to be pretty interesting points, and I’d bet other IndyCar fans do as well.