The IndyCar Series’ planned street circuit race in the Chinese port city of Qingdao has been called off, just over two months before it was set to take place.
The mid-August event had been in doubt for some doubt after ongoing disputes with city officials. Despite persistent negotiations between the championship’s officials and the city’s representatives, IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard conceded that all parties had run out of time to make the event possible.
Speculation rose to fever pitch ahead of last weekend’s Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway, where Bernard was interviewed pre-race about the latest speculation surrounding the Chinese race. He remained tight-lipped at the time, but has since gone on to confirm what was effectively a poorly-kept secret.
“We wanted to give the China race every opportunity to move forward and be successful, but IndyCar has been notified by the promoter that the event is cancelled for 2012,” a statement issued by Bernard reads.
“We were informed that the promoter was trying to move the event to a different date and location. After ongoing discussions regarding alternative dates, as well as doing our due diligence in exploring alternate venues in China, the promoter cancelled the event.
The final comment gives rise to suggestions that the cancelled event will be replaced by an alternative venue, in order for the championship to fulfil its minimum commitment of sixteen championship rounds this season.
Where that event could be – and where it could be placed in the championship calendar – remains open to speculation, although there would be many in the series who would welcome the championship’s return to disused IndyCar venues such as Portland International Raceway, Laguna Seca, or (our favourite) Elkhart Lake.
“We are working with our promoters that host events in the second half of our calendar to keep them apprised of how the date of a potential new [replacement] race could impact our current schedule,” Bernard added.
This year’s championship season is set to finish in mid-September when the series returns to the Fontana Speedway after a lengthy absence, but there is no clause in the championship’s contract with Fontana that gives it any legitimate claim to the final event on the calendar.
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