IRL's look for 2009 to be revealed soon

Jared Fogle, right, Subway pitchman … but an IndyCar fan?

Associated Press (2000)

Jared Fogle, right, Subway pitchman … but an IndyCar fan?

The Indy Racing League should make several major announcements within the next few weeks. Among them is the 2009 schedule and who might be the title sponsor: Planning ahead: 2009 IRL races

• An 18- or 19-race slate should be announced by July 31. The league will hold 19 events this season, counting the Grand Prix of Long Beach, which was contested only by transitioning Champ Car teams.

• There will not be races on more than four consecutive weekends.

• Nashville and Homestead are likely not to be included. Homestead officials are not broken up by the prospect, citing the difficulty of promoting the event without a major sponsor such as Ford, which underwrites the season-ending NASCAR truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup races there.

• St. Petersburg, site of the league's first non-oval race, will be run for the fifth consecutive year.

• A street race in Toronto, run by Grand Prix of St. Petersburg promoter Andretti Green Promotions, should join the schedule.

• Surfer's Paradise, Australia, the traditional Champ Car finale and last IRL race of this season, is expected to become a long-term venue but move to the spring.

• IRL commercial division president Terry Angstadt said he wants a domestic, "high-profile, exciting venue" in which to close the season, allowing an awards banquet and celebration to immediately follow.

• Speedway Motorsports Inc. has expressed interest in bringing IndyCars to Loudon, N.H. That's neither high profile nor exciting, but Las Vegas is both, and SMI owns the track there. CEO Bruton Smith has long lobbied to bring the Sprint Cup finale and banquet to Las Vegas, so perhaps he could show NASCAR what kind of party he can throw on the Strip by entertaining the open-wheel crowd. And a Loudon-plus-Las Vegas package seems fair. Title sponsor still a mystery

• The deal is expected to be worth about $10-million annually.

• Angstadt said the three most hopeful are a "quick-serve restaurant, a financial institution and a technology-oriented company."

• Subway, which vied for the title sponsorship of NASCAR's second-tier series that went to Nationwide, will sponsor a Vision Racing entry for Paul Tracy next week in the Edmonton race. That looks like a toe in the water if ever there was one. (Jared Fogle, the Subway diet guy, is from Indiana. That and $5 will get you a BMT on honey oat, but clues are clues.)

• The new sponsor will choose the syntax of the league's name. Choices include: (Sponsor) IndyCar Series and (Sponsor) IndyCar World Series. If it is Subway, the wording will not conjure thoughts of a Yankees-Mets World Series like it would have in the NASCAR sponsorship. "We're playing with World Series because that has nice equity from Champ Car unification, but that will be optional to the title sponsor," Angstadt said.

IRL's look for 2009 to be revealed soon 07/18/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 18, 2008 8:56pm]

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