DENVER, Colo. (September 26, 2001) - The unique sounds, smells and visual sensations that are Champ Car racing will return to the front range of the Rockies in 2002 with the running of the CART Grand Prix of Denver - part of the CART FedEx ...
DENVER, Colo. (September 26, 2001) - The unique sounds, smells and visual sensations that are Champ Car racing will return to the front range of the Rockies in 2002 with the running of the CART Grand Prix of Denver - part of the CART FedEx Championship Series - on the streets surrounding the city's Pepsi Center.
The announcement was made here today by Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, a subsidiary of Dover Downs Entertainment (NYSE: DVD).
"We are extremely excited about the opportunity we have in Denver," said CART Chairman and CEO Joseph F. Heitzler. "We conducted races in the downtown area in 1990 and 1991 and the fans here provided us with a terrific amount of support. The passion the people of Denver have for sports of all types - the Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche, Rockies, Colorado University and Colorado State University, just to name a few, make this a great opportunity for CART. Additionally, working with Chris Pook and the experienced staff at the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach places us in an excellent position as we prepare for our race here."
The race will be conducted on a 1.65-mile temporary circuit on the streets adjacent to Denver's lower downtown area. The Pepsi Center, home to the NBA's Denver Nuggets and NHL's Colorado Avalanche, will serve as the focal point of the race circuit. Kroenke Sports, the owners and operators of the Nuggets and Avalanche as well as the Pepsi Center, and Colorado businessman George Gillett, also are partners with GPALB in the venture.
"The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach enjoys an 18-year relationship with CART and therefore it makes all the sense in the world for this division of Dover Downs Entertainment to promote and operate this event," said Christopher R. Pook, president and CEO of the GPALB. "We have also developed an excellent working agreement with Kroenke Sports that will allow us to present an exciting event featuring all the magnificent vistas that Denver has to offer."
Pook and the GPALB are renowned as some of the world's foremost event promoters, the highlight of their various events being the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which regularly draws crowds in excess of one-quarter million people over a three-day weekend on the streets of the Southern California city.
The race agreement is for seven years, with an option, beginning in 2002. The agreement provides that CART play an active role in the management of the race, providing resources to help with the administration and promotion of the event weekend.
Additionally, CART and the GPALB have formalized an agreement to work together to pursue similar relationships in other major markets in the United States.
Also on hand for the announcement was CART Champ Car driver Bryan Herta, a two-time Champ Car winner during his eight-year career who, expressed enthusiasm for CART's return to the Mile High City.
"Denver is a terrific city and, speaking on behalf of all the drivers, we are looking forward to racing here," said Herta. "Our racing is some of the most exciting you will find anywhere and we believe the fans here in Denver will be treated to a great weekend of racing when we return next year."
No date has been announced for the event. CART will confirm when the race will be conducted when it announces its entire 2002 schedule, which is expected to be released within the next few weeks.
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series. The series visits seven countries and four continents during the season and climaxes with the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota on Sunday, November 4 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Thanks to a partnership among Marlboro, Toyota, CART and California Speedway, the winner of the season finale will collect $1 million, one of the largest paydays in all of motorsports. An additional $1 million, as well as the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup, will be awarded to the driver who wins the FedEx Championship Series title.
Champions Michael Andretti, Gil de Ferran and Jimmy Vasser are among the drivers who battle for the FedEx Championship Series title on oval circuits as well as temporary and permanent road courses. CART also owns and operates its top two development series, the Dayton Indy Lights Championship and the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.cart.com.