IBJNews

Speedway, MotoGP extend contract for another year

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Nicky Hayden still cherishes the short drive from his old Kentucky home to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Colin Edwards, like another Texas racer, still appreciates the history of the track.

Both Americans can plan on making return trips to Indy next year, too.

Shortly after the first Indianapolis MotoGP practice started Friday, speedway CEO Jeff Belskus told The Associated Press that the two sides had agreed to a one-year contract extension, assuring Indy of a place on the 2011 schedule.

"It's a good event, a profitable event for us and we love having the bikes and the riders here," Belskus said. "The community enjoys having them here."

And, perhaps most important, the riders like putting on a good show here.

Belskus didn't provide details of the new contract though he did acknowledge one-year deals have been the norm for the track's two biggest races — the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400. MotoGP originally signed a three-year deal to race at the speedway, the only oval-road course combination on the international circuit.

With the current contract expiring after this season, Belskus had been seeking an extension.

In July, on the 1-year anniversary of his first race as the speedway's chief executive, Belskus said he expected a deal to be completed before Sunday's race. They beat the deadline.

"I think it (Indianapolis) is special for anybody, but for me, it's double because it's so close to my house," Hayden said Thursday. "To drive to a MotoGP race for me is still, the third year, kind of seems strange because my first couple of years in GP there was no American rounds."

There are now two American races on the schedule — Laguna Seca, traditionally run in late July, and Indy, which will be held Aug. 26-28, 2011.

Edwards, like fellow Texan A.J. Foyt, prefers this course over California.

"I have some memories of this place, most of them televised that I was watching, and to be here, in the same paddock, in the motor homes, just being in this area, it's something special," Edwards said. "They've done a great job with it, to build a motorcycle track here."

It's not just the Americans who like coming to Indy.

Spain's Jorge Lorenzo seems primed for another strong performance this weekend after posting the second fastest lap in Friday's practice: 1 minute, 41.109 seconds. Australian Casey Stoner, who finished fourth in the hurricane-like marred race of 2008, posted the day's best time, 1:40.884. Hayden was third at 1:41.405.

The track also seems to play into Lorenzo's strengths, good news for the man having his best MotoGP season.

He has seven wins and three runner-up finishes in the first 10 races, only the third rider in the 62-year history of the sport to achieve the feat. He holds a 77-point lead over Dani Pedrosa, Indy's defending pole winner, with seven races to go and can join Indy's short list of back-to-back winners with another victory Sunday.

"I made my first podium in rain here, and last year, I won," he said. "It (Indy) is very special with a lot of history and a lot of races here in the past."

The big question for the speedway is how many people will show up on race day?

Attendance is expected to drop from 2009, but organizers are anticipating a crowd in the 50,000 to 70,000 range — numbers that are good enough for the track to make money and, Belskus hopes, to keep MotoGP in Indy for the long term.

"We love having them here, and those guys have been great to Indianapolis Motor Speedway," Belskus said.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • lolz
    there were more people there today for quals than there were for the hapless IRL quals day. thanks for all you have done for the sport of racing tony george you inept failure.

    MotoGP > IRL.
  • First and Last
    Nice move by the Speedway. Since there is no major league hot air baloon series, the bikes will do as a nice send-off next year. First and Last, in a way. I like it.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Choice between a democrat and a question mark? Take the question mark. We have all seen what the democrats will do.

  2. Its easy to blame workers. What about the Management of the Mill. Its not smart in business to not have a back up plan. Workers are afforded sick days in most cases. Union or not. Whether drunk partying, or a real sickness. Why would you as a businessman/woman not have a rotation of workers incase this happens. This is not an exclusive union protection. If the company can prove bad intentions on the part of any union employee. They can take action. Most CBA's have a 3 strike policy. Just like most Non-union company policies. You should read a CBA sometime. There are protections for companies too. Unions understand that businesses need to make money. If they don't, the union's member won't have a place to work.

  3. My kids play hockey on the North side and we have been very happy with the youth program. More Ice would create more opportunity for kids to pay this great sport. With 3 rinks that would also create more figure skating opportunities. What better gift to give your kids than a sport they will love!

  4. Naah, only Indy place fans were robbed of seeing Zanardi race. CART fans saw his amazing talents just about every weekend. And F1 fans saw him too. Zanardi didn't care he wasn't at Indy, neither do 99.18% of other race fans world wide. And CART fans are quite pleased of the domination of their drivers and owners have had at Indy, in the IRL, and in the current Indycar series....almost 99.18% of the time since 2000 Indy 500. I respect Zanardi, but his life goes on without Indy. Sucks to be you Capt.

  5. So let me get this right: gun permits online are fraud proof, but voting is as easy as 1-2-3.--But at least we agree that someone without a photo ID cannot be trusted with a gun.

ADVERTISEMENT