June 13, 2012

Texas Motor Speedway may be in line for extra IndyCar race

Texas Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series are considering hosting the season finale in Texas this fall.

Texas Motor Speedway might host another IndyCar Series race this year.

Track president Eddie Gossage said Wednesday that the series has asked him about hosting the season finale, now that it needs another race following the cancellation of the Aug. 19 event in China.

Gossage said the idea is intriguing, but not an easy decision because TMS is already set to host a NASCAR triple-header weekend in November.

“A September or early October date could pose several obstacles on a variety of fronts that we would have to consider before making a decision,” Gossage said. “Considering the shrinking window to properly promote the season finale to its fullest, we will have to make a decision fairly quickly.”

The IndyCar season is currently scheduled to end Sept. 15 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Presumably, the new season finale could be one, two or three weeks after that. TMS hosts a Camping World Truck Series race on Nov. 2, a Nationwide Series race on Nov. 3 and a Sprint Cup race on Nov. 4.

Having the IndyCar Series season finale in Fort Worth would be nothing new to TMS or the race league. The series ended its seasons in Fort Worth from 1999 to 2004, and the track hosted two IndyCar races a year from ’98 to ’04.

TMS has hosted more IndyCar Series races than any other venue. The Firestone 550 last weekend, won by Justin Wilson, was the 23rd such race at TMS.

At a minimum, the consideration of TMS for another race represents a thawing in the relationship between IndyCar and the track. A reported threat of a driver boycott in the spring over safety concerns surprised Gossage, who correctly points out that TMS has one of the best safety records in all of racing.

IndyCar Series chief Randy Bernard said he and Gossage spoke by phone on Monday and had a productive conversation.

“We both want to see another race there. We both need to come to terms on something that’s affordable for both,” Bernard told the Des Moines Register.

The paper asked Bernard if the race relationship was strengthened after the phone call.

“I would say that, after the race, I’m more confident,” Bernard said. “The conversations with Eddie were civil, and went well. He’s a good promoter, and we all want this to work.”

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