Chicago Speedway Suspends Racing
CICERO, Ill. (AP) _ Chicago Motor Speedway officials suspended the track’s 2002 racing schedule Tuesday, citing business and economic conditions in the industry.
The schedule includes the CART FedEx Series’ Target Grand Prix and the Sears Craftsman 175 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
The track opened in 1999 with the Target Grand Prix, and although attendance was down last year after two strong years, the main problem with this year’s schedule was believed to be the speedway’s failure to get CART to reduce its sanctioning fee.
``We were very sorry to hear about the decision regarding Chicago Motor Speedway today and remain grateful to the principals behind the organization,″ CART president Christopher Pook said.
``We had three great years there and we are appreciative of the opportunity to participate. However, the City of Chicago and its great race fans remain important to CART, our sponsors and our teams and by no means does this close the door on Chicago for the CART FedEx Championship Series in the future.″
Charles Bidwill, the speedway’s chairman, and Chip Ganassi, the track’s president, said the races were not financially feasible.
``With the entire industry in a period of widespread change, we know it’s the appropriate decision,″ Bidwill said.
Horse racing, which is run on the same oval with dirt spread over the concrete, will not be affected, and other events will continue to be held at the track, officials said.
``The people of Chicago and our sponsors have supported auto racing and other events at the Speedway, and we look forward to providing this region with continued entertainment and sporting events in the future,″ Bidwill said. ``However, we remain excited about the upcoming horse racing season at Sportsman’s Park, the 70th year of thoroughbred racing here.″