Fourth Turn – Milwaukee Mile

Joliet, IL – Have patience Milwaukee Mile supporters, all may not be lost.

Judging by talk heard around the Chicagoland Speedway this weekend, and the recent news item that appeared July 10th in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, things are happening behind the scenes that could lead to a new group taking over the operation of the historic facility.

In a letter sent out by the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board of Directors also on July 10th, the board is seeking experienced racing promoters to operate the Milwaukee Mile. The important wording in the letter is that “time is of the essence,” and that “those interested should immediately contact he Fair Park’s interim Executive Director Craig Barkelar.”

Those familiar with some of the goings on in West Allis would have one believe that up to four different groups have shown interest in the track’s operation by either having already met with the board or by planning to meet with them in the very near future.

The Journal Sentinel reported that former Milwaukee Brewer Hall of Famer Robin Yount was part of a group that was interested in the track back in 2005, but did not make a bid at that time. Mike Welch, a Milwaukee-based marketing consultant who was also part of that group four years ago, was reported by the Journal Sentinel as not sure whether they would make a proposal this time either.

Other groups reported as having shown interest include a current NASCAR team owner and at least one group with ties to the track in the past.
One rumor, provided by a veteran scribe who follows the NASCAR Cup Series, was that he wouldn’t be surprised if the International Speedways arm of NASCAR showed an interest in the facility. But much of this is pure speculation sprinkled with a teaspoon of fact.

A NASCAR official who was working the races here in Chicago this weekend stated that the sanctioning body has no set date to release their 2010 schedule. He said that it could come in September, or perhaps later in fall. He said that in some years the Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series’ schedules aren’t released until the Sprint Cup schedule is set. But in no case would they ever release a partial calendar.

The Indy Racing League will reportedly issue their upcoming schedule in late July or early August, and it is possible that they may trim an oval track from their list of events.

This scheduling process is important to any potential promotion group at the Mile because with NASCAR owed a reported $1.8 million, and the IRL owed an unspecified amount, any deals for races at the track in 2010 would certainly be dependent on settling those unpaid debts.

If those schedules are released, and no group has signed a contract to take over in 2010, then any hope for the historic track’s future would probably be lost.

The letter sent out soliciting proposals stresses that time has become a very BIG factor. The clock is ticking- someone had better step up soon.

Very soon.

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