Amid speculation IndyCar will return to the Milwaukee Mile next year, a news conference has been scheduled for Monday at State Fair Park.
John Yingling, chairman of the State Fair Park board of directors, said Thursday he couldn’t add any details beyond the fact a news conference was scheduled at the track on the fairgrounds in West Allis and would be worthwhile.
Assuming Milwaukee is added to the calendar, there are indications it could come on Labor Day weekend.
Talks between State Fair Park and IndyCar officials were confirmed in the spring. Then speculation heated up June 18, when Roger Penske, whose holdings include IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, visited the track hours before the IndyCar race at Road America in Elkhart Lake.
In addition to other forms of racing, the Mile has been the site of 114 Indy-style championship races sanctioned by AAA, USAC, CART, Champ Car and IndyCar through its 120-year history.
Over the last few decades, various promoters were unable to run a profitable IndyCar event at the track. The Mile has not hosted IndyCar since 2015, the conclusion of a four-year run for the company owned by champion driver and team owner Michael Andretti.
Mark Miles, the president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp., told NBC Sports recently that a race at the Mile was “likely.”
He cited two reasons it had a better chance to succeed than past attempts: the fact that IndyCar itself would promote a Milwaukee race – the way it has the street course race in downtown Detroit and the doubleheader at Iowa Speedway, which it rents from NASCAR for the weekend – and infrastructure upgrades to the facility.
Nearly $3 million was approved by the State Building Commission in December, to be paid for with funds from State Fair Park, the state and private fundraising. A second phase of construction is scheduled to begin next month.
Unclear is whether the promoter who brought racing back to the Mile in 2019 after a three-year absence would play any role in the expected IndyCar race. Bob Sargent said Thursday he thought his Track Enterprises would be involved, although he wasn’t sure how.
After holding a Midwest Tour stock-car event in 2019, Track Enterprises brought the ARCA national series to the Mile in 2021 and added a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race held last month. That truck race, which drew about 15,000 spectators, was the first large-scale, national motorsports event at the track since IndyCar left.
It’s likely the entire 2024 IndyCar schedule could be announced in conjunction with the Milwaukee event. Due partly to the Olympics, which involve three weekends in the heart of summer and are broadcast by IndyCar partner NBC, the calendar will look different from 2023’s.
Road America told season ticketholders over the weekend that IndyCar would race there June 9 next season, nine days earlier. The Indianapolis Star’s rundown of schedule possibilities published Thursday included the idea that Milwaukee could fall on Labor Day weekend.
That would be just one week after the Truck/ARCA doubleheader was held at the Mile this year.
“That’ll be very quickly also,” Sargent said of his expectations for a schedule announcement from NASCAR.
“We think as everything stands now, it’ll be similar to what it was last year. We’re not 100% positive we can promote two national events, three national events (including ARCA), within six days, but anything’s possible so we just have to figure out the logistics if that is the choice. … Everything’s on the table.”
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: IndyCar's return to Milwaukee Mile may be announced Monday