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  • Houston Canceled

    Disappointed as I was looking forward to seeing this event for the first time in 2008. Just got the notice in my email inbox.

    For Immediate Release

    Grand Prix of Houston Cancelled for 2008

    HOUSTON, March 3, 2008 - The Grand Prix of Houston announced today that the 2008 event, originally scheduled for April 25-27 at Reliant Park, has been cancelled. Grand Prix officials made the determination that after the unexpected unification of the Champ Car World Series and Indy Racing League and the resulting exclusion of Houston from the schedule, it was not possible to stage the event in 2008. However, Grand Prix officials are already in discussions about the possibility of holding the Grand Prix of Houston in 2009 with the American Le Mans Series and Indy Racing League.

    “The unification of Champ Car and IRL caught us by surprise, and we were informed that due to the last-minute nature of this unification the Houston date could not be accommodated for 2008,” said Michael T. Lanigan, owner and chairman of the Grand Prix. “We are saddened and disappointed to have to make this decision, but we remain optimistic that we will have the opportunity to bring the American Le Mans Series and the Indy Racing League to Houston in 2009.”

    The Grand Prix of Houston was not involved in any way in the unilateral discussions between Champ Car and the Indy Racing League, and despite a contract with Champ Car for 2008 the Houston race was excluded from the schedule.

    Grand Prix officials explored the possibility of staging this year’s event without Champ Car, but it was determined that holding the Grand Prix with only one headlining series would not be possible. Creating the temporary street course at Reliant Park requires tremendous expenditures including multiple grandstands, over three miles of race wall and fencing, fan amenities, media facilities, numerous jumbo screens, and broadcast production; all of these costs would remain essentially the same with only one series.


    “Putting on an event of this magnitude is very challenging, even when we had two great headlining series in 2006 and 2007,” Lanigan stated. “We did explore the possibility of holding our event this year with only an American Le Mans Series race and we were sincerely interested in doing that, but the reality is that our expenses would have actually increased with only one series. As a result of Champ Car’s actions, we have unfortunately determined that staging an event in 2008 was not feasible.”

    In addition to initial conversations with Indy Racing League CEO Tony George, event organizers are currently in discussions with Reliant Park and the American Le Mans Series about 2009. Tim Mayer, Chief Operating Officer of the American Le Mans Series commented:

    “The American Le Mans Series has enjoyed a great relationship with the City and Fans of Houston and with the great team that promotes the Grand Prix of Houston. So it is with great regret that we face the cancellation of the event, caused by circumstances outside of any of our control, the merger between Champ Car and the Indy Racing League. As we have proven in several markets this past year, the combination of the American Le Mans Series and various open wheel series makes a terrifically strong combination. The loss of the Champ Car Series, and the fact that the IRL has pre-existing commitments created a gap very late in the promotion cycle that no amount of effort would bridge, although Grand Prix of Houston worked tirelessly to do so.

    “We continue to enjoy a warm relationship with the Grand Prix of Houston, especially General Manager Chuck Kosich and Founder Mike Lanigan, to whom we are very grateful. We believe that the City of Houston is a great market, and we are committed to working together to try to put together a strong event for the future.

    “We do not have plans to replace the Houston race in 2008. History has shown that last minute replacement events are poor representations of the series that run them. We have a great series, with teams, sponsors, manufacturers, promoters and fans of whom we are extremely proud. We have a schedule that is both demanding and rewarding. We will continue to act in everyone’s best interest and look forward to continuing to grow this great sport.”

    Lanigan remains committed to the event and is optimistic about its return in 2009.

    “We are grateful for the tremendous support we have received over the past two years from fans, corporate sponsors, our partners Reliant Park and SMG, and the entire Houston community, so we are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision,” Lanigan said. “For the long term, we hope that despite this setback we have the opportunity to bring the Indy Racing League and American Le Mans Series to Houston and stage our biggest event ever in 2009.”

    Fans who have previously purchased tickets for the 2008 event will receive a full refund on the ticket price beginning later this week. Details will soon be available at www.grandprixofhouston.com.

    ###

    Austin B. Crossley
    Director of Public Relations
    GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON
    1111 Bagby / Suite 1950
    Houston, TX 77002

  • #2
    Yep, just another reason for IMSA to stay clear of such arrangements in the future.

    Hate to say 'I told'ya so'....but....well....

    The good news is one more street race has bit the dust.
    Brian W Keske
    bwkdesign.wordpress.com

    "The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

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    • #3
      Chances Gossage allows this race on the schedule next year.....

      NADA.
      "Now, for some of you it doesn't matter. You were born rich and your going to stay rich. But here's my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down." -- Edward Blume

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      • #4
        . . . . . . . . . . "unexpected unification"
        Never saw it coming I guess.
        www.ragingphotos.com

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bkeske
          Yep, just another reason for IMSA to stay clear of such arrangements in the future.

          Hate to say 'I told'ya so'....but....well....
          Because there are going to be more unifications in the future?

          I wonder why ALMS couldn't step into the headliner role? TV conflict?
          Last edited by speedmonkey; 03-03-2008, 07:08 PM.

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          • #6
            Well, that saddens me - I had been led to believe that Houston were prepared to go it alone with the ALMS...

            They even had sponsorship of the event with MSR Houston for the ALMS race. I guess the Southwest market will have to be abandoned for now.

            TV was tape delayed and to be on ABC. Darn.
            ... Since all men live in darkness, who believes something is not a test of whether it is true or false. I have spent years trying to get people to ask simple questions: What is the evidence, and what does it mean?

            -Bill James

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            • #7
              As of this release ALMS To Headline Houston , ALMS was to go it alone as the sole headliner. Something changed for Lanigan I guess.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ToddBenne
                As of this release ALMS To Headline Houston , ALMS was to go it alone as the sole headliner. Something changed for Lanigan I guess.
                Sucks for ALMS this late in the game. Wonder if they'll be able to replace this race on such short notice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ToddBenne
                  As of this release ALMS To Headline Houston , ALMS was to go it alone as the sole headliner. Something changed for Lanigan I guess.
                  Guess the sports cars just aren't the draw that some people wish they were.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Outlaw
                    Guess the sports cars just aren't the draw that some people wish they were.
                    Well they seemed to be equal if not better draw than CCWS at some races last year (like Road America), but I think ALMS isn't big enough yet to run as the only card on the ticket so to speak, nor foolish enough to try to run as such unlike CC was. Especially not at a temp street circuit.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by athletics68
                      but I think ALMS isn't big enough yet to run as the only card on the ticket so to speak,
                      I disagree strongly. The ironic thing here is the ALMS probably made the Houston race 'doable' for CCWS, not the other way around. Same for Road America.

                      I'm sure the issue was that both series were doing enough collectively that could not be achieved with only one series given the overall budgets were already set. Somehow I doubt Lanigan was going to cough-up the difference.
                      Brian W Keske
                      bwkdesign.wordpress.com

                      "The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite."
                      -- Thomas Jefferson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I hate to see any city/series lose a race through no fault of their own. The 2009 season will be a shoehorn job, trying to fit in all the events that want to be included into a 20-race schedule, but Michael Lanigan is not without clout, and Houston is a warm-weather location. Good luck to those of you that would like to see this race return.
                        It's always been about the Indy 500!
                        I realize I have the right to remain silent, but don't have the ability or enough common sense to do so.:rolleyes:

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                        • #13
                          Lanigan stated. “We did explore the possibility of holding our event this year with only an American Le Mans Series race and we were sincerely interested in doing that, but the reality is that our expenses would have actually increased with only one series.
                          It's bad that the ALMS won't be able to run on their own but what it points out is the perilous nature of staging street races. ALMS is a solid series but the expense of staging a street race for just them is too much for the promoter. They pair with the ICS at Detroit and St. Pete which makes those events work for both. While not a street race the same applies at Mid-Ohio so the now solo ALMS date at Road America might be an issue.

                          This seems like it may be the issue when making out the 2009 ICS schedule and just how many street races, from the CC schedule or not, get added. This year the only ICS rc/sc without an outside series as a support race is Watkins Glen. That situation mirrors where MIS was when it was dropped.

                          It appears that the promoter of a street course needs to have two major series to make the weekend work. If the ICS is going to go to Cleveland, Houston, Toronto, Edmonton, Portland or Road America or any other rc/sc can the schedules of the ALMS and/or GrandAM match up to provide those promoters the second major series. If not them then who? because there aren't really any other road racing series to fill the second bill. And how often do those series want to play as supporting shows to the ICS?
                          "You can't arrest those guys, they're folk heroes"
                          "They're criminals"
                          "Well most folk heroes started out as criminals"

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                          • #14
                            Wonder if the Rolex and ALMS might be forced to cross promote events next year as a result of this. Then again maybe not. ALMS and Rolex have both run their own independent events for the last several years near me down at Laguna Seca w/o Champ Car or IRL assistance.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bkeske
                              I disagree strongly. The ironic thing here is the ALMS probably made the Houston race 'doable' for CCWS, not the other way around. Same for Road America.
                              Telling is that the ALMS had a presenting sponsor for the race (MSR Houston), where CC did not.

                              The story here is the same for street races everywhere. Significant title sponsor -> survival; no title sponsor -> failure. It will be interesting to see how long Belle Isle survives.

                              I think Road America is a different story altogether, because they have successfully run solo events before. The only real question is what race to run - the originally scheduled 4h into the evening Saturday, lengthen it to 6h, or move it to Sunday? TV being scheduled to be on Sunday, I'd be tempted to move the race if it were up to me.
                              ... Since all men live in darkness, who believes something is not a test of whether it is true or false. I have spent years trying to get people to ask simple questions: What is the evidence, and what does it mean?

                              -Bill James

                              Comment

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