IndyCar Series appears headed to Rhode Island in 2013

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A deal is in the works to take IndyCar to Rhode Island in 2013, according to officials of the open-wheel series.

The Weekend of Aug. 9-11 has been tentatively set aside for a road race in Providence next season. Those familiar with planning for the race said it will take place on a 2.1-mile circuit with considerable elevation changes. The course is set to run past Brown University and Rhode Island’s state capitol.

Along with a road race in Baltimore, the Rhode Island race would be the open-wheel series’ second foray into the Northeast, which is seen as a key market to growing IndyCar racing.

IndyCar officials this year were taking a hard look at holding a 2013 race in Boston. But as they studied the area, Rhode Island officials approached them about hosting a race in Providence.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras have been actively involved in talks with IndyCar officials, said those familiar with the discussions.

A group of racing insiders and Rhode Island business leaders have formed New England Grand Prix LLC to act as race promoter. Promoting and operating IndyCar races—and keeping them financially viable—has at times been challenging. The race in Baltimore as well as one on an oval circuit in Milwaukee have struggled financially in recent years.

While many IndyCar fans clamor for more oval races, IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said the series has to do what makes sense financially, adding that often times street and road courses draw bigger live crowds and generate more revenue.

IndyCar Series officials said the unveiling of its full 2013 schedule will likely be done shortly after the series’ Sept. 20 board of directors meeting.  

The 2012 series concludes Saturday with a race in Fontana, Calif.

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