After announcing the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule last month, series CEO Mark Miles confirmed to the Indianapolis Star that officials in Boston were looking at picking up the Labor Day weekend season finale for 2016.
But not too long ago, buzz had been building for a potential street race down I-95 in Providence, Rhode Island.
This past June, Miles said there was “ongoing conversation” about that event but now, there doesn’t appear to be any conversation at all.
New England Grand Prix president Mark Perrone has told local radio station WPRO that the lack of a Providence deal came down to economics.
“I spent a lot of time, money, and energy down there,” said Perrone. “We moved on…We thought that we would have a great event down there.”
A spokeswoman for the city’s Dept. of Economic Development said that the city and the race promoters couldn’t agree on “safety and infrastructure” measures.
But in WPRO’s story, sources say that Providence mayor Angel Taveras’ recent bid for the R.I. governorship also played a role; Taveras says that wasn’t the case.
“It would have been great to make an announcement as a candidate, but if it’s not fiscally prudent and if it’s not fiscally responsible, then it’s not good for the city, so from my perspective that’s what we need to look at,” he said.
A push to bring IndyCar to Boston had begun several months before Miles’ confirmation of the Hub’s interest. In mid-summer, Mayor Marty Walsh assembled a Boston Grand Prix committee in hopes of bringing a race to the city’s Seaport District with Perrone as part of the promotions group.
The series has not made a stop in New England since the one-and-done 2011 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which ended infamously with a multi-car restart crash on a wet track and then a subsequent middle-finger salute to Race Control from Will Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay was declared the winner.
More recently, IndyCar made another Northeast exit in 2013 following the demise of the Baltimore Grand Prix after a three-year run. Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania currently hosts the only IndyCar event in that part of the country, the Pocono IndyCar 500.