The last INDYCAR race at Homestead-Miami Speedway was in 2010. Photo: Getty Images

IndyCar mulls potential replacements for Phoenix race, including Homestead-Miami Speedway

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ISM Raceway officials announced two weeks ago they would not extend its three-year contract with INDYCAR, which expired after this past April’s race at the one-mile track in suburban Phoenix.

However, track president Bryan Sperber left the door open for INDYCAR to return at some unspecified point in the future.

Sperber also revealed that officials of International Speedway Corporation – parent company of ISM Raceway – are actively talking with officials of INDYCAR about potentially finding another ISC track to replace Phoenix on the schedule.

Since Sperber’s announcement, rumors and speculation have begun to build on what track could potentially take ISM’s place on the INDYCAR schedule.

MORE: Phoenix will not be on IndyCar schedule in 2019

During the NASCAR weekend this past Friday through Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, MotorSportsTalk asked an International Speedway Corporation official about reports that the top contenders to replace Phoenix in 2019 – all that have previously hosted INDYCAR races in the past – are:

* The .750-mile Richmond Raceway, which hosted nine prior INDYCAR races from 2001 through 2009.

* The 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, which hosted 10 INDYCAR races from 2001 through 2010.

* The 2-mile Auto Club Speedway, which hosted 14 INDYCAR races from 1997 through 2005 and again from 2012 through 2015.

The ISC official, who asked to not be named for this story, quickly discounted Chicagoland and Auto Club Speedway, but then threw out a curve ball, telling MotorSportsTalk, “you might want to look south, like maybe Homestead.”

That’s right, the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway, which previously hosted CART and IndyCar for a combined 15 races from 1996 through 2010.

In response, an INDYCAR official — who also requested anonymity — told MotorSportsTalk, “ISC said when they announced the ISM situation that they were talking to INDYCAR about other venues, and at this point, that’s all there is.

“We don’t have any signed deals yet with anybody, and we’re talking to more than just ISC, as we always do. … At this stage, we don’t have anything concrete to say because it’s all still in talks.”

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Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).