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Circuit Gilles Villeneuve loses Nationwide event

5 October 2012

NASCAR's annual Nationwide Series race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve looks set to be cancelled, after the local promoters informed the series that they were relinquishing the rights to stage the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge.

The event has been popular with local Canadian fans of stock car racing, and with the Nationwide teams and drivers over its six years on the calendar.

"It was a very difficult decision to make," said Fran├žois Dumontier, President and CEO of Octane Management Inc. "But under the previous management and our own in 2012, the event remained non profitable. Therefore we had to be realistic and conclude that the NASCAR main event on our weekend program doesn't have the kind of appeal that could generate the requested revenues."

In a statement released on Friday, Octane Management said that the event wasn't financially viable unless it was run in conjunction with a Sprint Cup race, and that NASCAR had responded to the request by saying that it was not possible to either add a new event to the Cup season or to move any existing Cup events in the near or even distant future.

"I must admit that NASCAR's final answer is extremely disappointing," said Dumontier. "We can understand how difficult it could be to modify the Sprint Cup schedule, but we still believe that we deserved higher consideration, especially since we have often been told that the annual Montreal event was very important to NASCAR.

"We remain convinced that the presence of the Sprint Cup at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve would have brought a much larger crowd," he added. "Our track usually generates a spectacular race and with its anticipated success, would have offered a larger recognition at the international level to the series and to NASCAR."

Octane Management is a sister company to Octane Motorsports Events, the promoter of the IZOD IndyCar Series event in Edmonton that was removed from the 2013 calendar after the company likewise told IndyCar officials on September 21 that the event was not financially sustainable.

"Despite our tight management policies and all our efforts to offer to the fans a world-class spectacle, we were not able to make this event profitable and nothing allows us to hope for a better profitability next year," Octane Motorsports said about the Edmonton Indy at the time. (See separate story.)

It's now emerged that the Octane Motorsports Events has filed for bankruptcy, with the legal papers stating that the company owes assorted creditors around 5.4 million Canadian dollars.

A third company within the group, Octane Racing Group Inc., is the official local promoter of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada, also staged at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

While bankruptcy for one company within the group should not necessarily impact next year's Grand Prix in Montreal, FIA and FOM representatives will doubtless be closely following the situation and assessing whether the problems within Octane could end up affecting next year's F1 race.


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