Community Effort Helps Lure Indycar’s Economic Impact Back to Inland Empire, L.A. County
Open-wheel racing returns to Auto Club Speedway under the lights in Fall 2012; Economic impact could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (July 19, 2011) – When presented with the opportunity to provide the region with millions of dollars in economic benefits, officials within the Inland Empire and surrounding areas rose to the occasion.
For the first time in seven years, the thrill, excitement, speed and most importantly, the economic impact, of the IZOD IndyCar Series will return to Auto Club Speedway thanks to a concerted area “team effort.”
“To say that this was a total team effort to help secure an economic boost to the area is absolutely an understatement,” said Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker. “The Inland Empire and surrounding areas will now benefit to the tune of millions of dollars thanks to the community effort put forth by several outstanding organizations and individuals.”
Knowing its return would provide an economic boost to the region, several high-profile organizations and individuals wasted no time in stepping up to the plate to help persuade the IZOD IndyCar Series to return to Auto Club Speedway in the Fall of 2012 under the lights. Associations such as the Automobile Club of Southern California, the LA Sports Council, the LA Sports and Entertainment Commission, the California Travel and Tourism Commission and even the Governor’s Office were all tapped by the Speedway to reach out to the sanctioning body and were all instrumental in securing the Series’ return.
“The Auto Club Speedway is the ideal location for the return of the IZOD IndyCar Series to the Inland Empire. Roger Penske originally built the two-mile oval at Auto Club Speedway in 1995 with open-
wheel racing in mind, and the track still holds the world speed record for the fastest lap,” said Thomas McKernan, CEO of the Automobile Club of Southern California. “For the Auto Club, IndyCar racing provides us with additional opportunities to showcase our services to fans and at the same time offer our members and Southern Californians another world-class entertainment experience.”
"Bringing the IZOD IndyCar Series back to the area adds another high-profile event to the Southern California sports calendar for 2012,” said David Simon, President Los Angeles Sports Council. “It should result in thousands of racing fans traveling to the Auto Club Speedway next fall from all over the country."
"We're thrilled to be able to have a hand in bringing back the IZOD IndyCar Series to the Inland Empire and the benefits that go along with it,” said Kathryn Schloessman, President, LA Sports & Entertainment Commission. “It's a win-win situation for the region and we look forward to a great relationship with the IndyCar Series in Los Angeles.”
“Congratulations to Auto Club Speedway for bringing such an exciting sport back to California,” said Caroline Beteta, Executive Director, California Travel and Tourism Commission. “The IZOD IndyCar Series is a great partner for California as their racers don't just speed around the track, they also give a high-octane boost to the region's economy. Events like these bring thousands of visitors to our state every year, which is a great boost to California's tourism industry.”
Although it’s difficult to estimate an economic impact at this time given that the last IndyCar event was held at Auto Club Speedway in 2005 and the overall economy has changed dramatically since then, the last economic impact survey conducted with open-wheel racing as part of the Speedway’s schedule (2003) estimated the economic impact of the event at approximately $135 million.
The stars of the series, which include Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti and this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, along with high-profile owners, A.J. Foyt, Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi are expected to visit Southern California’s premier motorsports facility in the Fall of 2012.
“This facility was built to host open-wheel racing and Auto Club Speedway has arguably hosted some of the most exciting races in IndyCar history between 2002 and 2005,” said Zucker. “We look forward to building on the area’s history and tradition of open-wheel racing with new records and new races beginning in 2012.”
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About Auto Club Speedway: Auto Club Speedway is a two-mile oval located in Fontana, California and home to a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race each March and an IZOD IndyCar Series event beginning in Fall 2012. The track also hosts Historic Sports Car Festival, NHRA drag racing on the track’s Auto Club Dragway, and community events including Red White & Cruise, the annual Fourth of July celebration. In addition to auto racing and community events, the Speedway is home to numerous movies, television and commercial productions, photo shoots, new car testing, club racing and a variety of racing schools. The track is active for more than 320 days every year. For more information or to purchase tickets to NASCAR Weekend at Auto Club Speedway call 1-800-944-RACE (7223) or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com.