This year, I was privileged to attend the Edmonton Indy race. I flew up to Alberta, enjoyed a full weekend of Star Mazda, Firestone Indy Lights, and of course, IZOD IndyCar Series action. I loved the event, I loved the hospitality, I loved the people, and made some new friends to go along with some old ones. The airport course had great visibility, some excellent on-track battles in all series, and the locals I talked to knew their racing--especially those involved with favored local son Stefan Rzadzinski.
When I heard that Edmonton Indy wouldn't be returning for 2013, I wasn't floored, but I did feel absolutely sick for my racing pals up there in the Great North. Losing your "home" race hurts, in a big way, and no amount of figures or explanation can make it feel better.
You didn't have to be an insider to know there was discontent from local folks in regards to how Octane was handling this event. I'll leave the particulars on that to better-informed individuals than me, but I will say I've seen the amount of civic pride these Edmontonians have, as well as their drive to show their city to the world. Despite their fighting spirit, it doesn't sound as if any hope remains for Edmonton to return to the schedule anytime soon.
I've heard the complaints from teams and fans, that they feel the race was too distant to make it a viable location. I also know it wasn't #1 on a ton of lists when we're ranking favorite races. But I have to weigh that against my incredible experience there, and thoughts of the folks who worked hard and invested so much time in this event.
Sometimes, the only thing you can say is that racing is a rough business, and life's not fair. I hope Edmonton works something out in the future, and their great city gets another venue to show off. I hope Stefan Rzadzinski gets a full chance to show what he can do. And I hope the sting subsides a bit for those that have lost their race. For now, I'll be left with memories of one of the best racing weekends of my life.