CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES ANNOUNCES 2006 RETURN TO ROAD AMERICA AND DEPARTURE FROM LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
INDIANAPOLIS (November 29, 2005) -- The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will return to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in 2006 replacing the event previously scheduled for the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in late September.
Champ Car's return to the Road America circuit continues the series' commitment to its fans and history on traditional road courses. The 2006 race will mark the 24th Champ Car event at the 4.048-mile facility that is seen by many to be North America's finest permanent road course layout. The track itself celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2005.
"From my first day as Champ Car President, I have been inundated by our fans, sponsors and teams to find a way to get back to Road America," said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. "The passion the feedback showed for Road America led us to today's announcement. Road America's layout is a true test of driver skill and the circuit requires precision tuning by the teams."
In keeping with Champ Car's business model, the September 22-24 event at Road America will be a three-day festival of speed with the 750hp Champ Cars being joined at the historic circuit by the new 300hp cars of the new Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. More than 30 of the new Atlantic cars are expected for the season finale which will now take place at Road America.
"We have been in ongoing discussions with Road America working towards a solution that provides a reinvigorated race weekend and potential win-win situation," continued Johnson. "Our new agreement gives us both a chance to rebuild the event to its former level of popularity and financial success. When we decided not to renew with Las Vegas Motor Speedway it provided the opening to finalize our deal."
"Our fans repeatedly ask for Champ Car and we are pleased to add the popular event to our schedule," said Road America President and General Manager George Bruggenthies. "We are in the process of facility improvements, including a 3-acre paddock expansion that will make the event even better for racers and spectators."
In Las Vegas, Champ Car had run on the 1.5-mile super speedway in 2004 and 2005, competing in a unique nighttime doubleheader format with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Both Champ Car and Las Vegas Motor Speedway entered the agreement on a trial basis to measure how the format might work.
"We want to be very clear that our departure from Las Vegas Motor Speedway is in no way a reflection on the Speedway," said Johnson. "Chris Powell and his team run a first class operation and worked very well with our organization. We appreciated their hard work in trying to make the combined event a success for us."
Even though Champ Cars will not run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2006, the series remains committed to racing on ovals and will continue looking for new oval venues to add to the schedule. The recently announced '07 Champ Car chassis package underscored that commitment by providing the ability to race Champ Cars on oval circuits.
"We remain very committed to the Las Vegas market and are pleased with the growing support shown for our product by the Las Vegas fans," Johnson remarked. "We will continue to research other opportunities for future events in the Las Vegas market that hopefully are a better fit for our business model expectations."