IndyCar countdown


We should know within the next two weeks if the IndyCar Series will end its 2011 season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16 and follow that with its championship banquet.

IndyCar released its schedule for next year and, as expected, it shows the finale on Oct. 16 at a site “to be announced.”

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard doesn’t hide his enthusiasm about bringing the last race and banquet to Las Vegas.

“I think Vegas is one of the greatest cities in the world. I don't think there's a better city in the world to culminate your championships than in Vegas,” he said Friday in a national teleconference.

The determining factor appears to be if the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is willing to help pay for the event sanctioning fee that could be around $1 million.

Bernard has a proven track record in Las Vegas from when he was CEO of the Professional Bull Riders for 15 years before leaving early this year to take over IndyCar.

“I have tremendous relationships there with the LVCVA, as well as with the tremendous amount of hotels and casinos,” he said. “So right now we are doing our due diligence and hoping that we can come to an agreement here very shortly on that event.”

As a last resort, the finale could be held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

“Fontana is very interested if we cannot get that done (in Las Vegas). So that's one of the key reasons we have not made the decision at this point yet, but I'm optimistic that we'll see some type of decision made within the next two weeks.”


2011 INDYCAR SCHEDULE


March 27, St. Petersburg, Fla. (street course)
April 10, Birmingham, Ala. (road course)
April 17, Long Beach, Calif. (street)
May 1, Sao Paulo, Brazil (street)
May 29, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (oval)
June 11*, Fort Worth, Texas (oval)
June 19, West Allis, Wis. (oval)
June 25, Newton, Iowa (oval)
July 24, Edmonton, Alberta (street)
Aug. 7, Lexington, Ohio (road)
Aug. 14, Loudon, N.H. (oval)
Aug. 28, Sonoma, Calif. (road)
Sept. 4, Baltimore, Md. (street)
Sept. 18, Montegi, Japan (oval)
Oct. 2, Sparta, Ky. (oval)
Oct. 16, To Be Announced (oval)

* two races