As rumoured on Carb Day, a deal has finally been agreed to add the Rexall-backed weekend in Edmonton to the 2008 IndyCar schedule, increasing the number of confirmed races to 17.

The Indy Racing League has signed a three-year agreement with Northlands, the operator of the renamed Rexall Edmonton Indy, with the inaugural event under the IndyCar banner taking place on the weekend of 24-26 July. The Canadian venue joins Long Beach among former Champ Car races forming a part of the 2008 IRL schedule, with Surfers Paradise also rumoured to be close to a deal to stage a race this year, although whether it will count for points remains to be seen. Long Beach confirmed a five-year deal in the run-up to last weekend's Indianapolis 500.

"The city of Edmonton and Northlands have put together a first-class event, and we're excited that we can bring the IndyCar Series to such a great venue," said Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL's commercial division, "While drivers such as Justin Wilson and Will Power have raced in Edmonton before, some of our other stars - Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti and Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon - will compete there for the first time. We look forward to a long relationship with the Rexall Edmonton Indy."

The 14-turn, 1.973-mile circuit is laid out on Edmonton City Centre Airport runways that reach 75-feet wide for most of the course. About 80 per cent of the race course, which is five minutes from downtown, can be seen from anywhere in the grandstands, making it one of the most popular events on the Champ Car schedule before the series was closed down.

"We welcome the opportunity to partner the Indy Racing League during such an exciting time," Northlands president Ken Knowles admitted, "The Edmonton Indy has a proven track record and terrific support from our fans and partners. Under this new partnership, we expect that this year's event will be the biggest and best to date."

Edmonton could be joined on the 2009 IndyCar schedule by a second Canadian event, after Andretti Green Promotions took over the rights to stage the former Champ Car event in Toronto. While the event has agreed to take a year out of competition in 2008, it is widely expected that it will find a slot on the revised calendar next season, when the IRL is expected to overhaul its list of destinations.

Ironically, the series currently only has one Canadian driver competing on a regular basis, and owner-driver Marty Roth is among the elder statesman of the IRL. While Roth campaigns his own car, former Champ Car frontrunners Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani find themselves out of work....