Organisers of the IndyCar Series have finally confirmed the poorly-kept secret that Las Vegas will host the 2011 season finale, but they have dangled an extra carrot of a $5 million windfall to any non-IndyCar driver who can make a guest appearance and win the race.
As an extra incentive to draw in the crowds, fans who purchase tickets for any other IndyCar Series race in 2011 will be given a free ticket for the Vegas round.
Rumours had been circulating since October last year that the gambling Mecca would play host to the season-ending race on 16 October, which marks the series’ first visit to the oval circuit since 2000, although the defunct ChampCar series ran on the circuit in 2004-5.
“We must give our fans a great experience with three primary elements – great entertainment, competition and value,” said series boss Bernard 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.”
Bernard is hoping that five non-IndyCar Series drivers will bolster the grid for the event, in a move no doubt aimed at drivers from the rival NASCAR Series, who will compete in the Charlotte sprint Cup round on the Saturday night before the IndyCar race on Sunday.
“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 added.
“If any driver in the world outside of the IZOD IndyCar Series can win the Vegas race, we will give you $5 million.”
Bernard confirmed that the guest-driver entry list would be confirmed by the mid-year.