The IZOD IndyCar Series has gained an additional event for 2012, with confirmation that the series will be returning to the Milwaukee Mile oval track in mid-June after all.
The announcement of Milwaukee's inclusion in the season line-up means that the provisional IndyCar calendar now consists of 16 events for 2012, and ups the number of oval circuits to five.
Milwaukee was part of the 2011 season, but suffered from very poor turnout that led to last year's promoter taking a big financial hit. That had seemed to leave the Milwaukee Mile's return to the series in 2012 at risk.
However, IndyCar team owner Michael Andretti has now stepped into the breach and will be the promoter of the early Saturday afternoon race to be held on June 16. Andretti has a particular affinity for Milwaukee, and won five times there during his career as a CART driver as well as three times as a team owner.
“It's a historic track in a great city, and it's a place that has always been a favorite for my family," said Andretti. "But, more importantly, it's an ideal track for Indy cars and always produces exciting racing for the fans.”
Kevin Healy has been named managing director of the event for Andretti Sports Marketing Wisconsin, and is charged with boosting attendance for the race.
“Our goal is to make this more than a race by creating a festival environment with some unique fan interactions and experiences, a great concert and a celebration of the history of the Milwaukee Mile," said Healy. "We will announce more events in the coming weeks."
The news had leaked earlier than Andretti or IndyCar had been planning. Series CEO Randy Bernard had been hoping to include the announcement of the Milwaukee event during next week's State of IndyCar event in Indianapolis.
Bernard stressed that for the Milwaukee to continue in IndyCar, it needed the fans to come out and support it: “It is essential that we keep the Milwaukee Mile's legacy alive, and we stand committed to continuing its Indy car racing heritage,” he said.