MENOMONEE FALLS, Wisc. — The Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to Phoenix was short-lived.
After just three years, ISM Raceway president Bryan Sperber told the Arizona Republic that the contract with IndyCar would not be renewed.
The 1-mile oval returned to the series in 2016 after a 10-year hiatus. However, between the races failing to deliver much excitement and meager crowds populating the grandstands, the plug was pulled after three years.
Sperber told The Republic’s Michael Knight: “We have enjoyed having IndyCar at our venue for the full three years of our agreement. The series officials and teams have been tremendous partners, (but) IndyCar will not be on our schedule in 2019. We’re currently taking a pause to review schedule options for the future.
“IndyCar is currently discussing with International Speedway Corporation (ISC) other potential venues and opportunities. We’d like IndyCar to be on our calendar in the coming years, and we will work with IndyCar to find a date that will help deliver a successful event.”
Then, last week, Miles told IndyStar: “I don’t think they or we are happy with the vitality of that event to date. So there will have to be a decision here quite soon about whether we continue.”
Miles also said that if Phoenix fell off the schedule, the series would aim to find a replacement.
“Over time, if we have events that aren’t doing a great job on the track and broadly as events of representing IndyCar, if we can’t improve them, then they need to be replaced,” Miles said. “So we’re not looking to have more events, except maybe a couple international, but if there are new names, they might be coming in because someone else goes. We’re not looking to add to the total number (of races).”
This is the second race to drop off the IndyCar calendar in less than 12 months. Watkins Glen returned to the IndyCar calendar in 2016 after the street race in Boston collapsed, but it too, suffered low attendance and was replaced by a race in Portland on this year’s schedule.