CART and Milwaukee ink new deal

CART has announced a three-year contract extension with the Milwaukee Mile, keeping the Champ Car series racing at the historic venue through 2006.

CART and Milwaukee ink new deal

CART's new contract guarantees a late May/early June date and prevents the Indy Racing League from racing at the Mile within 30 days of the Champ Car event. No other open-wheel series that secures an event at Milwaukee will be permitted to race at night.

The Milwaukee Mile is celebrating 100 years of motor racing this year, making it the oldest continuous racing circuit in the world. The facility has undergone major improvements for 2003, including a brand new main grandstand replacing the relic that was built in the 1930s.

Carl Haas, who has promoted races at the Milwaukee Mile since 1992, sold that right back to the Wisconsin State Fair Board, owners of the track that hosted its first motor race in 1903. Haas was paid $250,000, and he will not have to pay his share of revenue owed from the 2002 season, estimated between $900,000 and $1.8m.

Haas signed a new 20-year lease with the Mile last year, but the 73-year old's withdrawal means the track itself will promote its own races for the first time in nearly 60 years. State Fair Park posted a net loss of $1.4m in 2002, mainly due to financial difficulties suffered by the park's Exposition centre and the U.S. Figure Skating authority's Pettit National Ice Centre.

The new contract is significant because it demonstrates CART's long-term commitment to oval racing, which has come into question with only three oval venues on the 2003 Champ Car World Series schedule. CART has raced at Milwaukee since 1980.

"We have been very good partners with CART and I think we need to get into the foxhole with them," track General Manager Mark Perrone told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "We're going to do everything we can to insure the success not only of our event but the series."

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