Empty can of Old Milwaukee

Posted by Iannucci | 6/29/2009 | 9 comments »
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When the IndyCar series announced last week that they were planning on 9 oval courses next year the speculation began about which of the current 10 ovals would be given the axe. Speculate no more.

IRL, like NASCAR, says promoter owes it money

Like NASCAR, the Indy Racing League is still seeking all of its money from the promoter of the recent race in Milwaukee.

IRL officials would not discuss details, but Terry Angstadt, the president of the commercial division, confirmed it's an issue his staff is "working through."

(MORE from IndyStar)
It's amazing to think that a track that has managed to stay in operation longer than Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be having such troubles, but such is the case for the famed Milwaukee Mile. Hopefully this loss - if it is in fact Milwaukee - would be teporary, because this track has not only the distinction of being one of the few oval that requires the drivers to actually touch the brakes, but it's got such a huge heritage it was immortalized in Paul Neman's "Winning" about how after Indy "We go to Milwaukee".

You can read more about the whole deal from the Journel-Sentinel, including how it looks like no one is racing there in the near future.

If there is a silver lining to this it's that the IRL might have a bargaining chip in seeking an increased sanctioning fee from Texas Motor Speedway. For years promoter Eddie Gossage has been banging his shoe on the pulpit to get the race immediately after Indy for his track, and with Milwaukee teetering it appears he will finally the opportunity. It's also been rumored that the IRL wants a higher sanctioning fee for the Texas race (although after this year's stultifyingly boring race I don't see how they could request that with a straight face), but maybe the two sides can work out something to everyone's agreement.

And maybe even Milwaukee's promoter-du-jour can get things together so we can go back in 2011. It's one thing to lose an oval, but it's entirely another to lose a piece of history.


  1. Mike R // June 29, 2009 10:59 PM  

    Ya, it'd be pretty tragic in terms of losing a piece of racing history...plus the best existing track on the schedule for these cars.

    Eddie Gossage can take a (^$%#&* *%*0- (in my not-so-humble opinion) as far as wanting the race after Indy. He's a first-class asshole that doesn't have a clue about what is good for this series.

    The financial stuff always screws the pooch. This is just another case of that. Losing Milwaukee would be much more than losing just another race to an ever-changing schedule and/or demographic.

  2. chrisestrada // June 29, 2009 11:07 PM  

    I wouldn't go that far, Mike. Eddie Gossage may be a little brusque sometimes, but I think he's earned the right to have an opinion on the series. He also seems to really listen to the fans and have the respect of many in the paddock.

    But I do agree with you on losing Milwaukee. It'd be just as bad as Michigan going off the schedule. We need this track.

  3. Mike R // June 30, 2009 12:16 AM  

    Tons of respect for your opinions and column pieces, Chris, but...while I may have been kinda harsh there...I'll stand my ground on Gossage. His interests are not now, nor have they ever been, at all for the betterment of the Indy car racing, whether CART or IRL. They are strictly Gossage-Texas centered. He is only singing the ISC cheering song at any given time.

    Meanwhile, I've strayed off-topic here regarding Milwaukee. And yes, it was another great loss in Michigan. And Loudon. And Nazareth. You know what I mean...

  4. Anonymous // June 30, 2009 12:22 AM  

    Yeah...right. About that.

    Make that SMI rather than ISC in my last rant against EG.

  5. Sarah Fan // June 30, 2009 4:49 AM  

    Mike, of COURSE EG is for Texas first and foremost - that's his job. He's a promotor for TMS. IMHO, he does a great job promoting the track, and secondarily the specific series running there. He's not my favorite person, either, but you can't deny he is very, very good at what he does.

  6. Sarah Fan // June 30, 2009 4:52 AM  

    Back on topic, I'm sad to see the problems that Milkaukee appears to be having, too. But the fact remains, you have to pay the bills in order to have the fun, and Milwaukee apparently isn't paying its bills. At least they're not just being shuffled off for another venue the IRL likes better.

  7. AZZO45 // June 30, 2009 8:57 AM  

    But I do agree with you on losing Milwaukee. It'd be just as bad as Michigan going off the schedule. We need this track.-crisetrada

    Chris: Gotta disagree with comparing the potential loss of Milwaukee with MIS! Michigan is a FOOTNOTE in racing history compared to the MM!!!

    I'm from SE/MI & have attended plenty of MIS races (NASCAR Indy & even the IMSA race!!!) however its located in the middle of nowhere & has a "sister" in SoCal!!! :) Milwaukee has character, tradition, & usually unique racing.

    Yes MIS has its multiple grooves & good racing... but its birthdate was 1968... nor 1908, eh? I've been fine with its absence from the IRL schedule... & this is from someone who smiles while driving 6 hours to Beer City (as opposed to an hour to MIS)

  8. Mike R // June 30, 2009 1:59 PM  

    Not that anyone really cares, but to clarify...

    Of course EG is going to do what he feels is best for TMS and SMI promotions. That's his job, and he does do it well. Yes, he's a great promoter who makes sure the fans are getting the best show/environment for their dollar that he can effect, including allowing coolers into the speedway. No doubt he knows his biz.

    He just has displayed a complete lack of regard through his actions for the Open Wheel series that have run there, including his festering grudge against the CART series when the drivers hesitantly came out and admitted that the speeds were so high that they were having difficulty with blacking out. A contract is a contract, but the safety of the drivers, and subsequently the fans, has to be of primary concern to someone who has that kind of authority. He could only see his financial stake and didn't seem to give a damn about the disaster that loomed had they gone forward with that race. His comments last year about which series had "won" the battle further revealed his (likely, willful) ignorance about the details of the long running split, or his still simmering bitterness about the CART deal. Enough about Eddie.

    What can we do as fans to help keep Milwaukee on the schedule?

  9. OriginalChris // July 06, 2009 2:28 PM  

    Considering the only idiot left in control of the IRL - Barnhardt - is not the one in charge of scheduling, I can confidently say the IRL isn't stupid enough to throw history to the wayside and skip out on Milwaukee next year.