JUST ANNOUNCED: Homestead-Miami Speedway to Host 2009 IndyCar Series Championship
MIAMI—Homestead-Miami Speedway, International Speedway Corporation and Indy Racing League officials today announced that Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the 2009 IndyCar Series Championship, tentatively set for Oct. 11, 2009, on South Florida’s 1.5-mile oval.
“That the IndyCar Series has chosen to move its Championship to Homestead-Miami Speedway says more about our facility and Miami as a Championship host city than anything I can put into words,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray. “IndyCar is anchored by such a decorated open-wheel history, and now the series is poised for a phenomenal future driven by the momentum of this year’s reunification with Champ Car, as well as by last year’s stunning Championship finish.”
Indeed, a fantastic 2007 Championship finale—Dario Franchitti took the checkered flag and series as Scott Dixon ran short of fuel less than one-half mile from the finish line on the season’s final lap—has combined with February’s open-wheel IndyCar/Champ Car unification to increase series viewership nearly 20 percent (a 60 percent ratings increase on ESPN alone) in comparison to midsummer 2007.
“Major events are a significant part of the South Florida landscape, so we are very happy to bring the IndyCar Series Championship to Homestead-Miami Speedway,” added Terry Angstadt, president of the Indy Racing League’s Commercial Division. “We like the opportunity afforded to us to match a Championship city with the IndyCar Series Championship race.”
Key to the allure of the IndyCar Series is a diverse lineup of international drivers that includes: racing pioneer Danica Patrick, one of one of the most recognizable female athletes in the world; Miami resident Helio Castroneves, two-time Indy 500 winner and champion of ABC’s television hit “Dancing with the Stars”; co-Miami resident Tony Kanaan, the first driver in major auto racing history to complete every lap of every race of an entire season (en route to the 2004 IndyCar title); a youthful corps of drivers highlighted by the most famed and accomplished names in motorsports history, including Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and A.J. Foyt IV; and current points-leader Dixon.
At-track IndyCar Series merchandise sales were up 70 percent from midsummer ’07, and the IndyCar Series has introduced a bevy of new sponsors since unification, including DIRECTV, Coca-Cola and IZOD. It also represents the first racing series to power its engines on 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol, a renewable and environmentally friendly fuel.
In noting that IndyCar opened its season in South Florida from 2002 to 2008, track president Gray said: “After seven years of hosting the IndyCar season-opener, you can bet the staff at Homestead-Miami Speedway is ready to ramp it up a few more notches. See you at the Championship.”