The latest in the shuffling and negotiating for race dates on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule comes from the Midwest, at Elkhart Lake's Road America.
With Milwaukee all but confirmed not to return and New Hampshire potentially moving off the schedule block, rumors swirl whether open-wheel will make its first appearance at the 4.048-mile permanent road course since 2007. The sticking points are more the dates than making the financial numbers work, track president and general manager George Bruggenthies told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“Mr. Bernard is working on some foreign events, maybe two Brazil races, and he doesn't know the dates of those,” Bruggenthies told the Journal Sentinel about IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. “That's part of his business plan because those races pay for a lot of the rest of the schedule and help us. So it was more the date than the money. Absolutely.
“We wanted to put them on the Sunday following American Le Mans – I think we were the first promoter to have that doubleheader. That's why we expanded the paddock (for 2007), where we literally had American Le Mans Saturday and then (Champ Car) on Sunday. And I think our fans would like that. That was kind of my plan, but August was really kind of busy for Randy. That's really the way it went.”
Pairing IndyCar and ALMS would also make sense from a television production standpoint, Bruggenthies said. ALMS produces most of its own races but has the benefit of IMS Productions on joint weekends with IndyCar. Track cameras would only need to be operated for a combined weekend rather than separate ones.
August 2011 has been a busy month for all three parties involved in any negotiation. IndyCar and ALMS paired up at Mid-Ohio the opening week of the month. IndyCar held additional races at New Hampshire Aug. 14 and Infineon Raceway Aug. 28; ALMS's Road America date this year was sandwiched in-between on Aug. 20.
Road America is trying to figure out its 2012 schedule with the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Grand-Am, ALMS and AMA, among club racing and other track dates. The track has hosted the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in September since 2009, and its June Sprints remains one of SCCA's largest annual events.