Confirmation this week that the IZOD IndyCar Series will not return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway – site of the disastrous accident that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon – next season has further shrunk the series' limited pool of oval tracks, but one former IndyCar venue says it's open to the series returning, albeit not next year.
Bryan Sperber, president of PIR, told The Associated Press on Friday he'd welcome conversations with IndyCar about a return to the mile oval in the Arizona desert. PIR hosted Indy Racing League IndyCar races from 1996 through 2005, and USAC and CART ran at the track from 1964 to '95. PIR is owned by the International Speedway Corporation, which currently has no IndyCar races on any of its tracks, although ISC's Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., is scheduled to rejoin the IndyCar schedule next year.
“Phoenix has a long history with IndyCar and open-wheel, and while there would be challenges in bringing the series back to the track, we'd certainly like to try to work through them and see if there's not a way to host IndyCar races again,” Sperber told the AP, although he said there was not enough time left to properly plan for a race there next year.
“I think 2013 is the earliest we could entertain anything,” he said.
Phoenix was repaved and re-profiled this year to suit NASCAR, which has Sprint Cup races there twice each year. The track now has progressive banking of the first and second turns, as well as the dogleg on the back straight, of 10-11 degrees, while the third and fourth turns feature 8-9 degrees of bank.