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Milwaukee Mile race added for 2012
11 February 2012
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.
"We know there are passionate IndyCar fans in Wisconsin that want to see a successful event at the track," he said, and added that the series wanted to "deliver great racing at a great value to the loyal fans in the area while adding to the storied history of the Mile.”
Milwaukee's inclusion makes for a particularly busy mid-season for the IndyCar teams, with the Indianapolis 500 on May 27, Detroit Belle Isle the following weekend on June 3, Texas Motor Speedway just six days later on June 9, and now Milwaukee on the 16th before Iowa Speedway the week after on June 24.
The scheduling of the race for the Saturday before Father's Day is an attempt to boost attendance at the track. Andretti had wanted to hold practice and qualifying on the same day as the race, but TV scheduling forced the decision for qualifying to take place on the Friday instead.
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