The Edmonton Izod IndyCar Series race is a no-go after Octane Motorsports -- who had taken over promotion of the 2011 event -- and the city of Edmonton couldn't come to an agreement.
An expensive disagreement over the site of the race looks to be the culprit. Since Champ Car first began running at the downtown airport course in 2005, the race had been staged on Runway 12-30 but city officials wanted to move next year’s race to Runways 16-34 to keep the airport open.
That would have cost Octane an estimated $3 million and it proved to be the deal breaker.
“We are extremely sad to confirm that our group will not be able to offer Western Canada fans an Indy racing event in Edmonton for 2011,” said a statement from Octane’s Francois Dumontier. “Until the last minute we hoped the city would agree with our legitimate request to provide us a site equivalent to the one the previous promoters have worked with and this, without having our group invest in ground works.
Let's be honest here, watching that race on the airport was tedious. The layout didn't seem as viewer-friendly as the Cleveland Airport layout was for the Champ Car Series, and the only memorable moment that Edmont has provided the series was last year's freakout by Helio Castroneves (OK, yeah, that was a pretty good one)
But most importantly, the drop of the race leaves a huge summer gap from July 10 to August 7 on the IndyCar Series schedule, and isn't the only race that's seeing financial trouble. The Baltimore Stadium Authority is going to have to pay for the parking lots at Camden Yards to become the pits for the inaugural Baltimore street race over Labor Day weekend after funding from organizers didn't come through.
Plus, there are no ISC tracks on the 2011 schedule.
Simply put, this isn't a good sign for the IndyCar Series. Despite big crowds over the first couple years, the city of Edmonton lost $9 million in 2008 and 2009, and if Baltimore is already having funding problems, who knows who else's books aren't in the black for IndyCar events.
- city of Edmonton