Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy
1. New circuit, grandstands highlight changes at Edmonton Indy
2. Miller joins JDC for Star Mazda opener
1. New circuit, grandstands highlight changes at Edmonton Indy: A new 2.256-mile, 13-turn race course, a reduction in some prime ticket prices and grandstands that will be closer to the action on the track were details for the Edmonton Indy unveiled at a news conference Feb. 8 in Edmonton, Alberta, for the fourth annual event at City Centre Airport on July 22-24 that features the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights.
A twist is the change in the circuit location at the downtown airport following the closure of one of the two runways two weeks after the 2010 event. But, according to Tony Cotman - president of NZR Consulting Inc. - the move was welcome.
The circuit, which incorporates the closed East runway, will present challenges to drivers and action all around for spectators. There's a 90-degree first turn, hairpin turns in the northwestern (Turn 5) and southwestern (Turn 13) corners and two long straights.
"The other (1.96-mile, 14-turn) course one was good and fast initially but it was too hard to pass on," Cotman said. "One of the big things we needed to focus on with this course was how to make the show better, and I think we've achieved that. There were restrictions relating to the airport but I think we can create a much better actual racetrack for racing on and obviously that's what people come to see. It will be better."
Francois Dumontier, president of Octane Motorsports Events Inc., the new promoter of the event, announced that there will be six grandstands spread around the track with three price categories -- $230, $150 and $125 for the three-day pass.
The general admission price structure also has been revised to include tickets on a three-day or daily basis. Race day general admission has been reduced from 2010, and youngsters 11 and under will be admitted free in general admission with a ticket-buying adult. Paddock passes and pit walk alley passes also will be available. Additionally, a limited number of RV trackside stalls will be available for rent.
"We wished to simplify and clarify our offer to all," Dumontier said. "That is why we are implementing a system most major motorsport events customers in Canada are familiar with: all grandstand seats are offered on a three-day basis and each grandstand seat has its single price. Fans can choose to attend themselves the three days or share their tickets with friends or relatives.
"I must add, as we will soon reveal, that our 2011 racing program will be much busier on Friday and Saturday, and with all seats being much closer to the track they will be coveted."
Tickets go on sale Feb. 11 at www.edmontonindy.com or by phone at 855-350-4639.
2. Miller joins JDC for Star Mazda opener: Chris Miller will return to JDC Racing for the 2011 Star Mazda Championship season-opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., as part of a limited campaign for the talented young American.
The 21-year-old native of Edina, Minn. rejoins the Minneapolis-based team after competing as full-time competitor in 2010. He chose to cut back on his racing schedule to focus on his education.
"I'm excited to be back with JDC to build on what we did last year," said Miller, who plans on attending law school after graduating from the University of Minnesota. "Although I'm not running the full season, I am confident we can achieve some good results. JDC is the premier team in the Star Mazda Championship and I am glad we could put something together."
Miller will join a planned multi-car effort by JDC Motorsports and hopes to build on a solid rookie campaign in the highly-competitive Mazda Road to Indy series. The 2009 F2000 series titlist scored five top-10s en route to fifth in the rookie standings. JDC MotorSports earned a podium finish in the inaugural race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., last season.
"We are very privileged to continue our long association with Chris Miller and the Miller Milling Company," said JDC MotorSports Team Principal John Church. "Chris is a class act and always brings a positive attitude. We look forward to building on Chris's rookie season and bringing him his first win in Star Mazda."