Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:46 am
Andretti to bring IndyCar racing back to Milwaukee Mile this year
Milwaukee race fans will get another chance to support big time auto racing.
Andretti Sports Marketing, formed by former auto racer Michael Andretti, will present an IndyCar race at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis on June 16.
The race will be part of Milwaukee IndyFest, a new two-day (June 15-16) festival that will include the race itself, a post-race concert, a family fun zone, free admission to Friday race practice, and other activities and events.
The Milwaukee Mile claims to be the oldest continuously operating auto racing facility in the world, having hosted auto racing events since 1903. But the track has struggled to host major races in recent years as attendance has waned, different race promoters have failed to stay in business and the track has lost some events.
Andretti won five races at the Milwaukee Mile as a driver and said he felt a personal connection to the Milwaukee races that he wanted to help save.
“The (Milwaukee IndyCar) event has such history," he said. “It’s very important to IndyCar, but it’s also very important to me and my family. We heard it was struggling and might not come back this year. We can’t let that happen.”
Former race promoter Wisconsin Motorsports LLC ceased its operation of the racetrack in 2009 when it owed millions of dollars to vendors, NASCAR and the Indy Racing League. NASCAR and the IZOD IndyCar Series cancelled their races at the Milwaukee Mile in 2010. NASCAR moved its Nationwide Series race from the Milwaukee Mile to Road America, located in western Sheboygan County.
In 2011, the IZOD IndyCar Series returned to the Milwaukee Mile with a June 19 race. But poor attendance at that race again cast the future of IndyCar racing at the Milwaukee Mile in doubt, until Andretti’s group swooped in.
“We saw the last few years it has struggled a bit,” Andretti said. “We think we can learn from the mistakes that were made. We need to get the community more involved. We want to do this thing right. This is a city of festivals, so it was important to put festival in the name. It’s not going to be an ordinary race. It’s going to be a family event.”
Marcus Hotels and Resorts, a division of Milwaukee-based The Marcus Corp., and DHL will be event sponsors for Milwaukee IndyFest. The race is still seeking a title sponsor, said Jade Gurss, spokesman for Andretti Sports Marketing. Marcus Hotels are the official hotels of Milwaukee IndyFest. DHL is the first national/international sponsor for the event and are the official express and logistics provider for Milwaukee IndyFest.
The race will be 225 miles long and will be broadcast live on ABC-TV.
“This is a big part of the history of this community,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “The history of this city is filled with tremendous racing events. I think we’re on to something big here (with Milwaukee IndyFest)."
BizTimes seeks nominations for bold companies and leaders
BizTimes Media is seeking nominations for its 2012 Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards and IQ (Innovation Quotient) Awards.
The Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards salute bold and innovative company leaders. To be considered for the awards, nominees should demonstrate the best traits of entrepreneurship; include a willingness to take risk, drive, perseverance and innovation.
The IQ Awards salute companies for their innovations in their products or services. Judges will choose the most innovative, clever and unique products, services or processes among the companies nominated.
Self nominations are welcomed. Nominees for the Bravo! Entrepreneur and IQ Awards must be based in Wisconsin and have a physical presence in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Sheboygan, Racine, Walworth or Kenosha County.
Nominations are due by March 23.
Past recipients of the Bravo! Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award have included Fritz and Debra Usinger of the Usinger family, Stephen Marcus of The Marcus Corp., George Dalton of Fiserv Inc., Robert Kern of Generac and Harry Quadracci of Quad/Graphics Inc.
The winners of the 2012 awards will be presented at the Bravo!/IQ Awards Breakfast at BizExpo on May 17.
For more information, visit www.biztimes.com/bravo or contact Mary Ernst at (414) 336-7125.