Mid-Ohio added to calendar from 2004

The American Le Mans Series has announced a three-year agreement to return to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course beginning June 27, 2004. Mid-Ohio was an ALMS venue until 2002 but the race fell off the sports car calendar this year when a date could not be mutually agreed upon

Mid-Ohio added to calendar from 2004

"We never should have left," said ALMS President Scott Atherton. "It clearly and truthfully was a scheduling issue, and it's something we never would have done with the benefit of hindsight, knowing what would happen to our [cancelled] events in Mexico City and Washington DC.

"This pretty much rounds out the world-class natural terrain road courses in North America, with the possible exception of Watkins Glen. But the chances of the ALMS racing there in the near future are virtually slim and none."

Mid-Ohio President Michelle Trueman-Gajoch was delighted to welcome the ALMS back to her track, especially in light of questions whether CART will return in 2004 and beyond. In recent years, Mid-Ohio's ASA Superbike race has rivalled the Champ Car race as the track's most popular event.

"We're in the business of putting on races here," she said. "That's one of the reasons we wanted to make this (ALMS) announcement here today. The perspective seems to be so narrow on open-wheel racing when we have five other events here, two of which are the largest in the country of their kind. That's what we do, and fortunately we've diversified enough that we aren't reliant on the success or failure of one other event."

Trueman-Gajoch said that Mid-Ohio is interested in remaining on the Champ Car schedule in the future if the terms are right.

"We are purely waiting on some insight from CART," she said. "We've just recently had some dialogue about it. I met with David Clare yesterday and I think they're very much in a holding pattern to determine what their schedule is next year and what their direction is for the series. That's not going to just impact Mid-Ohio. It may impact several other venues as well."

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