Las Vegas IndyCar Finale Confirmed
LAS VEGAS — The IndyCar Series will return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway Oct. 16 for what is being billed as the IZOD IndyCar World Championships.
The event will be owned and promoted by IndyCar and will include free tickets for loyal IndyCar Series fans and a proposed $5 million bonus for a driver from outside the Indy Car Series fold who can come in and win the event.
The IZOD IndyCar Series competed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval from 1996 to 2000 and Champ Car competed at the facility in 2004 and ’05.
The race will be held on a Sunday following NASCAR’s night race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both are televised on ABC, giving IndyCar opportunities to promote Sunday’s race during the NASCAR event.
Even if no NASCAR drivers accept this challenge, it is still a fine opportunity to promote
Sunday’s race during a primetime NASCAR telecast.
“I think definitely it was planned to have it on Oct. 16 because Charlotte is on that (Saturday) night live on ABC, we are on live on ABC on Sunday; so there should be great cross‑promotional opportunities there,” Bernard said. “We think it’s going to give a great opportunity to increase our viewership coming out from last year from Homestead on Versus. So this was thought out on why we picked October 16.”
Bernard refused to speculate on who some of the drivers may be that would take the challenge. It is also unclear if the drivers would have to bring sponsorship money to the table to land a ride and what kind of approval process they may need to go through to compete in the event as all IndyCar drivers must pass a rookie test.
“The challenge was made, and we don’t want to separate out NASCAR, F-1 or any other series in the world,” Bernard said. “I mean, it could be someone from rally car that comes in and wants an opportunity.
“We want to see the best drivers in the world that think that they can drive an IndyCar that wanted to give it a shot. First they are going to have to test and then they are going to have qualify and then they are going have to win. Basically it’s those type of steps in order to win the money. It’s not going to be no easy task, that’s for sure.”
IndyCar is renting Las Vegas Motor Speedway to produce this event.
“We were able to work a deal out with Chris Powell on a straight rental, and we wanted to do it that way,” said IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, who has a 14-year relationship with the City of Las Vegas dating back to his days operating the Professional Bullriders Ass’n.
“From my original background, I like being the promoter. I have control. We can take care of our sponsors in a better way and we can take care of our fans.
“We own all elements. It was very important for us. If I was going to try and do this, the only place I want to start it would be the City of Las Vegas because I am so comfortable with the city and confident of its marketing ability.”
Another interesting aspect of the promotion will be that any person buying a ticket to any of the other 17 races on the IndyCar Series scheduled will be eligible for a free ticket to the Oct. 16 event at the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
“This is a sponsorship model,” Bernard said. “Our business plan on this event was designed off of sponsorship models, not ticket revenue. We have about 44,000 tickets we plan on selling but the remaining tickets we plan on giving to our loyal fans, and I think that it’s going to be a complement of one, IZOD signed up to be our sponsor, as the title; and it’s our job to deliver them great value to the sport.”