The Boston Globe reports that a source in the Indy Racing League has confirmed that the IZOD IndyCar Series will race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., next season. The race, which the Globe says is scheduled for July 31, 2011, will be the first IndyCar race at the one-mile speedway since 1998. The renewed race would join the recently announced street race in Baltimore as new additions to the IndyCar calendar.
The Globe reports that its source indicated an announcement would be made this Sunday in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at NHMS, the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. Jerry Gappens, NHMS executive vice president and general manager, told the newspaper that he and track owner Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., had talked with Bernard about bringing the open-wheel series back to New Hampshire.
“I'm pleased through the new leadership that Randy's providing he's opened the dialogue, and I think we're going to bring it home,'' Gappens said. “Right now, we're trying to cross the T's and dot the I's, but we feel really positive about it. It should add a third major weekend of racing to our schedule."
New Hampshire was one of the tracks to align with the IRL in place of CART Indy cars in 1996, but the race was dropped from the schedule in 1998 amid a dispute between the league and then-speedway owner Bob Bahre over a perceived lack of promotion of the event. Smith's SMI company bought the track from Bahre in 2007, and there have been rumors about an IndyCar return since then.