Friday, January 28, 2011

IndyCar To Houston?

From 1998 to 2001, and again in 2006 and 2007, ChampCar hosted the Grand Prix of Houston. Winners included Paul Tracy and current defending IZOD IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti. Pole sitters included current road/street champ Will Power. With the CCWS/IRL merger, Houston was dropped. Now, a group in Houston is working hard to get this course back on the schedule for the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Houston isn't exactly in Texas Motor Speedway's and Eddie Gossage's backyard, but I'm not sure he'd exactly be thrilled with this event being added. That said, anyone who's ever met a Texan will tell you their state's big enough to handle just about anything. The last race at Houston had over 168,000 in reported attendance. Of course, attendance figures are always shifty, but it's an interesting point of reference.

An interesting point in this story is that Bernard is quoted as saying several city stops on the current IndyCar schedule might be dropped. I would hope that any move to Houston is marked as expansion, or at least the betterment of the series. It's possible this race joins as a replacement for one of the current road/street courses. Or, if IndyCar expands with another oval in 2012, adding Houston as well could help maintain the balance in the series.

As a fan, I love consistency, but I also want the best events on the schedule. Those two are often at odds, as less successful events are discarded in search of better fits. Do I know where Houston fits in overall?  No, but I'm willing to listen.

In any case, here's from footage from the last Grand Prix of Houston. I think you'll find some familiar names about. See what you think:


  1. I really don't want to see another street course, especially as Belle Isle, Trois Rivers, Quebec, and Porto Alegro are all rumored as well. I really want to see some decent road courses (Sebring, Road America, Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen, VIR) in the series, especially since the 2012 car should be better on road courses.

  2. Any time the series can get into large markets it should jump at that chance -- especially if attendance at Houston is anywhere CLOSE to what they may have "estimated"! I know RB wants to get over 20 races on the calendar, and I'm for that so long as it 1) adds ovals and 2) the new races don't remove any ovals. I don't mind twisties but I don't want them going the CART direction either.