IndyCar has confirmed that Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host its season finale, and announced a $5 million bonus for any driver from outside the IndyCar Series who can come in and win the race. In another innovation, fans buying a ticket for any other IndyCar Series race this year can get a free ticket for the Las Vegas finale.
It had been expected all winter that Las Vegas would be the venue for IndyCar's final 2011 round on Sunday Oct. 16, marking the championship's return to the track, which it last visited in 2000. Champ Car used the oval in 2004-'05. Series boss Randy Bernard is aiming for five "outsiders" to join the field for Vegas, in a move clearly aimed at enticing NASCAR drivers, whose Sprint Cup event that weekend takes place at Charlotte on the Saturday night.
"We showcase our drivers as being the very best, fastest and most versatile in the world, and we are putting our money where our mouth is," Bernard said. "If any racecar driver in the world outside of the IZOD IndyCar Series can win the Vegas race, we will give you $5 million.
"We will accept five entries for this challenge, with entrants being determined by midsummer."
Bernard feels Las Vegas is the ideal setting for the season's concluding round.
"I said at the IndyCar State of the Sport in mid-January that we must give our fans a great experience with three primary elements – great entertainment, competition and value," he said. "There is not a city in the world that can provide entertainment like Las Vegas. Las Vegas Motor Speedway will provide some of the fastest and most exciting racing fans will see anywhere, and the ticket promotion is true value. This is a time when IndyCar can tell our fans that we thank them for their support."
IndyCar has previously discussed offering a large bonus to any driver who can win the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR event at Charlotte on the same weekend.
The Vegas weekend, which also features the final Firestone Indy Lights round of the season, will be named the "IZOD IndyCar World Championships."