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.
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.”