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IndyCar To Replace Boston With The Glen?

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 10 2016
Historic Watkins Glen could replace Boston on the 2016 IndyCar schedule.  (File photo by RacingOne/Getty Images)

Historic Watkins Glen could replace Boston on the 2016 IndyCar schedule. (File photo by RacingOne/Getty Images)

Watkins Glen International’s historic and recently repaved 3.4-mile natural terrain road-course has emerged as the leading candidate to replace the cancelled Boston street race over Labor Day Weekend on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.

Located in New York State’s Finger Lakes Region and an August staple on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, WGI would fill the Sept. 2-4 slot vacated when promoters for the inaugural Boston event pulled the plug in late April after encountering opposition from groups citing noise, traffic and damage to city streets.

IndyCar President Jay Frye contacted Michael Printup, WGI president, last week and the two executives have been discussing the details. A decision could be made this week, as series teams prepare for two Month of May races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway _ Saturday’s third annual Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis road-course event and the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

IndyCar first raced at WGI in 1979 and most recently on July 4, 2010, when Will Power of Team Penske won from pole position before a sparse holiday crowd. But the track’s storied open-wheel history, including as host of the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix, has given WGI the nod over an event at the Gateway Motorsports Park oval in Madison, Ill., near St. Louis. According to various reports, both WGI and Gateway are being considered for inclusion on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.

A major concern for WGI and INDYCAR officials is a previously booked Ferrari club event on the same weekend. Printup reportedly is working with the Ferrari group to share the weekend schedule.

“We’ve been talking to Watkins Glen about Labor Day and if we can figure out how to do it and be respectful to the Ferrari group, we’d be thrilled to go back to a place with such history,” Mark Miles, chief executive officer of Hulman & Company, told RACER on Monday evening. “We think there’s a strong IndyCar fan base and if we can work things out, we can move on this pretty quickly.”

Simon Pagenaud, winner of two of the season’s first four races and the championship point-leader, mentioned The Glen as a replacement during a teleconference last week. “For sure, I’m thinking of Watkins Glen,” said Pagenaud, of Team Penske. “I’ve never been there, but it looks like a beautiful track. It’s been repaved, as well, recently. That would be a good market and really cool track to go to.”

Pagenaud also bemoaned the demise of the Boston event.  “Yeah, I’m very disappointed,” the Frenchman said. “That was going to be a great event, perfect position in the city. I managed to see the excitement of I guess half of the population in Boston because I know some of the population was not excited about it. There were a lot of people that were pulling for the race. The racetrack itself looked like it was going to be a beautiful layout. We were going to go through a tunnel, which would have been really cool.

“It is what it is. It’s beyond my reach. I hope we can replace the race.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 10 2016
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  • Joseph Rampata Jr says:

    I have been going to the Glen since the 60s and i consider it my favorite track of all. I have seen Trans Am,Can Am,F1,Indy car and i hope they will return please.