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IndyCar Series

Deal all but done to run 3 more IndyCar races in Edmonton

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The Canadian Press
7/25/2010 10:15:58 PM
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EDMONTON -- The I-dotting and T-crossing to keep the IndyCar series alive and well in Edmonton for the next three years is all but over.

The Montreal-based Octane Group, which runs the F1 and NASCAR events in the Quebec city, and the Indy Racing League said the substantive business issues have been ironed out and a sanctioning deal is expected within two months.

The City of Edmonton will remain on as a major sponsor.

"We're very confident it will be executed as a three-year deal," Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL's commercial division, said at a news conference Sunday with Octane Group president Francois Dumontier.

Octane takes over from the city-funded Northlands board, which has lost more than $9 million on the event in the previous two years.

Northlands cut its operating budget for this year's event from $14 million to $10 million to stem the red ink. Dumontier said even the $10-million figure is a shock, given it costs him less than that to put on the F1 event in Montreal.

"There are a lot of things we have to take a look at," he said.

Dumontier said he will open a branch office to sell the race year round in the Alberta capital. He said the key is to make the race an event, get hotels and restaurants involved, and put more banners and signs up.

"We have to work a little bit in the city. We came in from the airport (yesterday) and there's nothing. (You wouldn't) know they were having a race," he said.

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HINCHCLIFFE WINS: What a difference a week makes for Toronto's James Hinchcliffe.

The 23-year-old driver for Team Moore Racing led from green flag to checkered flag Sunday, holding off hard-charging rival J.K. Vernay of France by 1.23 seconds to win the Edmonton 100 in the Firestone Indy Lights series.

"Last week I was sitting steaming in a tire wall, and now I'm on the top step of the podium. It's a great feeling," said Hinchcliffe.

Hinchcliffe barely missed starting on pole last week in Toronto, then saw a possible podium spot disappear when he crashed on the final lap of the race to end up 10th.

This was his second win of the season. He won in Long Beach, Calif., in April.

Vernay finished second in the 50-lap race on the 1.96 mile, 14-turn circuit at the City Centre Airport track, but still leads Hinchcliffe in the overall points race.

English driver Martin Plowman was third, 9.56 seconds back.

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SOUR MILKA: It was another bad day to cap off a very bad weekend for Venezuelan driver Milka Duno.

Duno, with Dale Coyne Racing, was placed on probation Saturday by the Indy Racing League for failing to meet minimum performance standards.

The 38-year-old from Caracas has already been ordered to the sidelines in two races this year and has been criticized as a track menace for failing to look in her rear view mirrors and diving into the path of approaching drivers.

The IRL is now strictly monitoring her results and has the power to kick her off the IndyCar circuit.

She didn't help her case in Edmonton.

She crashed in her first practice session, spun out in the second, was disqualified from qualifying because she was too slow and then spun out in the first lap of the race.

Duno completed just four laps Sunday and was already taking 70 seconds per lap, eight seconds more than the leader, when her team threw in the towel and brought her in.

Will Power Helio Castroneves  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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