IRL: Texas Motor Speedway renews agreement

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY SIGNS 2-YEAR AGREEMENT WITH INDY RACING LEAGUE TO HOST RACES IN 2008 AND 2009 * "Second Home To The IRL" Has Hosted 18 Events Since Opening In 1997 FORT WORTH, Texas (August 27, 2007) Texas Motor Speedway has signed a...

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY SIGNS 2-YEAR AGREEMENT WITH INDY RACING LEAGUE TO HOST RACES IN 2008 AND 2009

* "Second Home To The IRL" Has Hosted 18 Events Since Opening In 1997

FORT WORTH, Texas (August 27, 2007) Texas Motor Speedway has signed a two- year agreement with the Indy Racing League to play host to IndyCar Series races in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage announced today. The length of the agreement and its conclusion following the 2009 season coincides with the Indy Racing League's contracts with broadcast partner ABC/ESPN and another series venue, The Milwaukee Mile. That timing is paramount for Texas Motor Speedway, which will have the opportunity to evaluate the new television package and future race schedule of the IndyCar Series before making a decision on hosting future IndyCar Series events.

"The IRL asked us to sign a multi-year agreement to help stabilize their schedule," Gossage said. "We're glad to accommodate their needs by staging races in 2008 and 2009. Fans, sponsors, teams and networks can always count on `The Great American Speedway!' to deliver." Texas Motor Speedway officials want to be assured that the next television contract provides the necessary value to its sponsors and partners as well as lobby vigorously to have the IRL return to its traditional post-Indianapolis 500 schedule that began when Texas Motor Speedway became part of the series in 1997.

From 1997 through 2005 nine of the first 10 years of the IRL's existence the Indianapolis 500 was followed by an off week and then the series headed to Texas Motor Speedway for "America's Original Nighttime Race." The IRL tradition came to a halt in 2006 when the IRL opted to sandwich Watkins Glen between the Indy 500 and Texas during the previous off week. This year, The Milwaukee Mile replaced The Glen the week between the Indy 500 and Bombardier Learjet 550k.

"We have proudly and loyally featured IRL IndyCar Series races as key parts of our schedules oftentimes when other race tracks refused and are pleased to have reached an agreement to continue in 2008 and 2009," Gossage said. "There is no greater race year-in and year- out on the American racing schedule than the IRL IndyCar Series under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway. We hope the IRL's new TV contract and schedule for 2010 and beyond make it such that Texas Motor Speedway can continue to be `The Second Home of the Indy Racing League.'"

Texas Motor Speedway has played host to 18 IndyCar Series events since 1997, including two annually from 1998 to 2004 that featured six of seven season finales.

The 2008 date for the Bombardier Learjet 550k will be announced when Texas Motor Speedway releases its entire racing schedule for the upcoming season later this week.

-credit: tms

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Series IndyCar