IndyCar cancels China race, scrambles for replacement

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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.



  • fewer qualifying shows?
    I did not keep count but it seems to me that there have been fewer qualifying shows on NBC sports than last year when it was Versus. I would assume that if those shows had decent (by IRL standards) ratings they would be on again this year unless the ad buys didn't support it. Milwaukee ratings were up over last year. Last year was a Sunday race, maybe the IRL should look at more Friday - Saturday events. I also noticed that no stats for the last part of race were released. I only get ESPN 1+2 so I missed the end of the Detroit race too. I did not see a release mentioning the ratings for Detroit. There is some precedent for the IRL sponsoring the 16th race. In 85 or 86 CART did not have the minimum cars for one of the Michigan races, I think it was the 500, so entry fees were waived and tire bills covered for a couple of May only teams to show up. Looking at the stats for 85 I see Phil Krueger in the 42 car, I'm pretty sure he was one of fill ins, I think it was a silver car. In 2002 Pac West pulled out leaving 17 cars, so CART paid Chip to run Scott Dixon from Milwaukee on. Anyone noticed how engine and transmission failures are listed as 'mechanical' for a reason out? CART would play those games too, Kirk Russell determined the reason out, when someone was running too slowly they would be black flagged and listed as a handling problem, King Hero comes to mind.
  • Uh Oh
    Texas just declined to have a replacement race. If they can't get to 16, then IZOD will pull out due to the fact that IMS didn't meet their obligation.
  • In the black?
    Getting better? Has one of the bullet holes healed on their feet where they keep shooting them?

    What's the next shoe to drop? Milwaukee attendance and TV ratings failure? Yup...you realize they've jeopardized everything this year just to stay alive, right? More like in the red, still.
  • okay chief
    I am not pinning it on you, however sometimes people dont need to look too far to see whats wrong and how they can really fix it - or in this case give it a boost. Bottomline is this year is the first year in 15 the series is not losing money and that is a fact. Also scaling it back can help in the future. Its not a total loss, its a wounded dog that is in its first stage of getting better, although the set back (chasis too hi of a cost) is just that, its waht happens after to keep getting better. So that is my point - negativity is easy and I do understand reality and that there is a ways to go - but the series is in the black and can take it from there.
  • IndyCar was all of those things
    They are not now, nor will ever be again.
  • One more time...
    ...we'll go over it, in case the Powers-that-wannabe read these blogs.

    Stop wasting money on this series. It has been rejected as unacceptable to all but a very small group of people, numbering less than 250,000, according to some sources. Certainly the TV numbers and lackluster attendace at most events bare that out.

    Save money.

    Start anew in 2013 with a small, select group of self or co-promoted ovals. Three, four, tops. Plus focus on making the Indy 500 the great event it is. There is your future. Again, street parades and park play-races have been rejected. So have most ovals. The whohe thing has, accept Indy. You'll need a handful of races, not a series int he old sense, but more like support exhibitions here and there that are payign races, and sprinkle them through the Spring to Fall. Maybe buy Pikes. Gateway. Whatever.

    IndyCar days as a big series are over. No models work. Just run Indy and those handful of smaller oval races here and there.

    Get rid of this ugly car in the next season or two. Call up Offenhauser and apologize. Spec a basic Indy car chassis that current stock car, sprint car, Lights, NHRA, and sports car builders can do out of their shops. Invite to Indy.

    Budget not to exceed $1 Million per season for any team.

    Pikes. Gateway. Toss is a Cleveland GP as a "tiwsty" if you must. Maybe a Pocono. Maybe a Texas. TOPS. Five, six races with a decent purse. That is the future.

    Trying to be all F1-glamour wannabee and America's Cup like has been vomited by the public.

    Baltimore. Edmonton. Firestone Fast-Six. Girl Power racers. Tassle-loafered cool cats. It has all been rejected.

    IndyCar racing is loud, fast, sophisticated, yes, but all nuts and guts.
  • Big B
    Hey man, it's not looking good for the series. The speedway successfully kept their own doom and gloom under the 500 radar. As soon as it was over they've stepped on land-mines with daily regularity. Don't pin the failure of this series on me...my negativity is the actual reality.

    You people refuse to accept the world viewpoint...and it is killing the sport. bump Day turned into Fill Day, just like the 2012 season is turning into find a track (any track) so they don't compromise the IZOD contract...even though IZOD wants out. Sad state of affairs....and Texas attendance was pitiful for a series that has an established fanbase in Texas for the past 14 years.
  • Road Course
    Without getting caught up in the doom & gloom that is the future of Indycar, I'd vote for a race on the IMS road course.

    It would give those of us who actually enjoyed the F1 races a chance to see decent cars run on it again, and an opportunity for those who don't want to fight the crowds & traffic of the 500 a chance to see OUR series locally.
  • Texas TV Rating is below .10?
    Is that true? If so, WOW! Hopefully, it is not that low.
  • Chief what gives
    Who ruined your wheaties? Its a marathon not a sprint - if its stunk since 96 why is it still alive? You have to admit something is better! What gives with your complete negativity.
  • Another Race
    Bring the proposed China race back to Indy and use the road course track the motorcycles use...
    Randy Bernard is pretty good at it.

    Let's see: No sanction fees, over-charging owners for parts, selective rules enforcement, selective engine rules, ugly car, no car kits for 2013, fines, owners taking over failing races as promoters, Las Vegas, non-existent TV ratings, lower attendances, fans frustrated, cars have less HP than pace cars, IZOD wants out, Mike Kelly not getting 300% ROI, website stinks, no practice qualifying or race streaming, Lotus cars can't even start races...now the humiliating CHINESE race CANCELLED.

    YES! This is the direction I want the series to head in. This is VIBRANT stuff! Give Randy a RAISE for all his hard work. I seriously haven't seen a marketing effort or any advertising of races or anything anywhere. PATHETIC. Stick a fork in it? Naaah, it's been done since 1996...folks are just coming around to realize that.
    • Qing of Blunders
      Doh! So much for the big, emerging market full of target demographic Chinese IndyCar fans who eat, sleep, breathe, and live for the series. Just like the 250,000 or less in America who watch it!

      Wanna say, go ahead and cancel the series too, because it is stinks of poo.
    • This has Indy written all over it
      Okay- where will you get the most fans for this impromptu race (Indianapolis Motor Speedway). Where would sponsors LOVE to see this replacement race(Indianapolis Motor Speedway). Where is the most ready and available place, workers, FANS willing to spend money, and time (Indianapolis Motor Speedway).How bad would NBC or ABC want this race on their station (more money!!) I am sure the staff of ticket sales people would love the opportunity- my man Ryan Hollander would love more $$$. I am sure that Dan Hagist can wrestle up enough yellow shirts to serve a weekend (make it a Saturday race). The facility is good (the road course) and if you really wanted more then the 24 or so drivers then you could most likely get more for this race. Dont take this as a bad thing for the series, but take it as a great opportunity now for the series to get more recognition and bring the promoter from China so they see what they lost out on! It could turn out to be a huge positive after and needed after a bad Detroit. So hopefully you see and garner the opportunity!!
    • Hear that?
      Another nail in the proverbial coffin.
    • Eldora
      Put them all in Sprint cars at Eldora. They don't have anything scheduled that weekend. Talk about building back the midwestern fan base. Love to see some of the pretty boys with some dirt on them and see who the real racers are!

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