CHAMPCAR/CART: Mario Andretti brings back Road America

The Champ Car World Series announced the reinstatement of the Road America round of the series for this August and for 2004. In recognition of his efforts to bring back the race, it will be named The Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road...

The Champ Car World Series announced the reinstatement of the Road America round of the series for this August and for 2004. In recognition of his efforts to bring back the race, it will be named The Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America.

The race had been cancelled earlier amid a flurry of legal actions between the track owners and CART, and it seemed unlikely that it would be run. Through Andretti's persistent efforts to get the two parties talking and to keep them working for a solution, the Champ Cars will race for the 22nd time at one its most popular venues this summer.

"There was so much 'noise' from the fans and drivers about this event. It is the most satisfying road course you could run on," Andretti said today while explaining the magic of the Elkhart Lake course that led him to work so hard to restore this event.

And he did work quite hard. "I was a pain in the ass!" is how he described his approach to keeping everyone involved in finding a solution to the impasse that had the race suspended. Others on CART's media teleconference today backed up the retired star's statements: "Mario wouldn't take no for an answer." said Road America's president, George Bruggenthies.

Andretti expressed "great satisfaction" with the result, saying: "I walked the pits and paddock - there isn't a single soul who isn't happy that it is back on." Andretti will serve as Grand Marshal for the race, which has reassumed its original date of August 3, 2003. Support events will be announced later.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Andretti