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Speednews, on Speed, reported last night that IRL was working on a 2007 date for San Antonio. Stated that they were looking at a site "near the SBC center." I had heard some about this before, but it looks like this thing might really happen.


Any insider news on status?

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Mccrum, on one of the news cast they had a few weeks ago, the IRL might have a street race most likely in downtown just like the IMSA many years back, San Antonio has to look and see if it would be a economial deal for the city. As far as something being around the SBC, now ATT center, the was a few months back a developer wanting to make a major sports park around the ATT center which would include a 3/4 or 1 mile "D" shaped track. Im sure Nick would have more hindsite and info on this. But things in the motorsports world in San Antonio is looking better and better all the time, with ASALM coming here at SAS and the big IHRA drags happening yearly and now THR bringing in USAC Midgets National show, South Texas and San Antionio is becoming motorsports happy, and thanks to T.D. and everyone working there butts off to make all this happen.

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My understanding of the current status of IRL race in SA is that the city fathers are asking the hard economic questions as I type.


If you're familiar with the IMSA events back in the late 80's, the city got stuck holding the bag for an amount that varied depending on whom you spoke to.


It all boils down to this. The backers have to provide a viable business plan with built in guarnatees for the city before this will happen.


Can it happen? Yes, it sure can and it would be a blast. They would be looking for volunteers to help with everything from hospitality to corners workers - a great way to get up close and personal.


Nick Holt

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During the 1988 Alamo Grand Prix, I was working for the San Antonio Light and got to cover the events from the inside. Met lots of really nice folks.


And I had the good fortune to be introduced to Nissan's traction control technology by hanging around Eugenio Franciscus, the team's computer guru, for a couple of days.


But I also had a very tough assignment during the 1989 Grand Prix. I was assigned to spend the day with Gretchen Polhemus, who was Miss Texas at the time (later that year she became Miss America and later 1st Runner-up Miss World), and report on how she spent her day at the track... My wife knows how hard I tried to get out of that assignment, but hey.. someone had to do it.


Nick Holt

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The Open Letter to the San Antonio City Council is from Barbie O'Connor who was heavily involved with the Zunne Group that fielded a San Antonio-based Indy car back in the mid '90s.


Larry Bendele was kind enough to bring this letter to my attention.


Nick Holt




To: San Antonio City Council


From: Barbie O’Connor

Co-Owner Zunne Group Racing, Inc

1996 Entrant, Indy 500, “Spirit of San Antonio”


Fool San Antonio once, shame on you. Fool San Antonio twice, shame on us and our city



Hasn’t our city already learned from the Grand Prix races held from 1987 to 1990 that a temporary street circuit is just that: temporary?


Didn’t we learn that it cost the city millions each year of the race to repave the streets to

make them smooth enough for the sensitive race cars to run on them?


Didn’t we learn that the police overtime necessary to insure the safety of fans, teams, and track workers would run close to a million dollars too?


Didn’t we learn that sponsors just didn’t get the exposure and value for their

advertising dollar?


Didn’t we learn that our city, this multi-culture diverse beauty deserved something more long lasting?


Well, it does.


When the IRL and promotor Holly Hills Development sit down with City Staffers this week, what the City Leadership should say, is that they want Tony George and his company IMSC to build a permanent multipurpose racing facility in San Antonio, Texas better than the one they built in Chicago.


There International Speedway Corporation (ISC), the publicly traded sister company to privately held NASCAR, was 50% partner along with Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation (IMSC) to form the Motor Sports Alliance, LLC, a 75% owner in Raceway Associates, LLC, that manages the Chicagoland Speedway. The nine former owners of Route 66 Raceway Inc. are 25% partners in the deal as well.


Already in San Antonio, potential partners are waiting in the wings for a legitimate deal that would insure the success of a racing facility in Bexar County. Not a deal where “if it is built they will come”. Because in the past, tracks have been bought up for 20 to 50 cents on the dollar leaving bond obligations barely payable.


No, what San Antonio wants and needs is commitment for the long term to a successful

venue for all our community. This facility will be a tourist destination, an educational

facility, and part of the synergy of the industrial base for our community. It will have academies to develop Latino, Female, and African-American drivers and team members to make San Antonio a racing center of the Americas. It will offer an educational program for at risk kids who want to race to do so on a racetrack. It will add to our city not

take something from it.


Right now whatever deal they offer on a temporary racing event, is less than we should

accept. Cities all over the US, and in Europe are bleeding red financially over these street events.


See Chris Economaki’s comments in Feb 1, Speed Sport News article, “Wrong-Way Money.” Another open wheel series, CART, puts on a show in Houston, the IRL puts two on in Fort Worth. As talks continue of IRL and CART merging, what would become of

our temporary race?? And what about diversity? In ten years of racing the IRL still only has one female race car driver? And Latinos? What about African Americans? Is this really the best way to spend our money, on something temporary?


So, City Staffers and City Council, are you being fooled twice, is it shame on you? Or is it

time to insist that these promoters live up to our values, to our standards, to invest in us, to contribute to our community on a permanent basis?

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Tom Orsborn at the Express-News has been covering this story for the past few months. Below is a link to his lastest story.

Officials, city to discuss IRL race in 2007


Tom's sources are pretty solid and it looks like there will be a race in San Antonio in 2007.


Keep reading the Express-News. I expect Tom to have an update on this race soon.


Like Nick, I also covered all of the NISSAN Grand Prix races for the Express-News when the race was held downtown. It was a great event to cover from a reporter's perspective.


Mike Haag

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