IndyCar Series officials announced Wednesday that the Aug. 19 race in Qingdao, China, has been canceled.
“We wanted to give the China race every opportunity to move forward and be successful, but IndyCar has been notified by the promoter that the event is canceled for 2012,” IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said in a prepared statement.
The promoter tried to move the race to a different date and location, Bernard said, but ultimately canceled the event. "A decision had to be made to allow IndyCar and its participants to plan accordingly for the second half of the season,” he said.
IndyCar announced plans for its inaugural race in China on Nov. 10, 2011. Bernard said the series is “not closing the door” on opportunities for a future race in China.
This will be the first time in a decade the open-wheel series has not had a race in Asia. The series has raced in Motegi, Japan, the last nine years.
The cancellation also means the series is running afoul of some of its sponsor agreements—including its title sponsorship with Izod—that call for 16 races.
Bernard said the series is investigating a possible replacement event that will keep the schedule at 16 races.
“We are working with our promoters that host events in the second half of our calendar to keep them apprised of how the date of a potential new race could impact our current schedule,” he said.
Some observers have speculated the series will try to hold a replacement race at Road America in Wisconsin or even on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or at Lucas Oil Raceway.
But as IBJ reported on its The Score blog Tuesday, those potential solutions aren't perfect. For example, the series already is set to race in Milwaukee later this month, just a little more than an hour from the Road America course in Elkhart Lake, and two races so close together likely would hurt attendance at both events.
Bernard on Wednesday would not reveal what options he was considering, but there is also talk that IndyCar could pick up an event at Pocono Raceway or an Oct. 7 second stop at Texas Motor Speedway.