Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

May 6, 2014

AUTO RACING: IndyCar, Louisiana on track for 3-year deal

AVONDALE, La. — IndyCar racing officials expressed confidence Monday that NOLA Motorsports Park will be able to complete the track improvements it needs to host the proposed Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana in suburban New Orleans next year.

''IndyCar is on the rise and we are determined to be in great markets in this country and eventually throughout the world,'' IndyCar chief Mark Miles said in an announcement at the track. ''We have no doubt this will be one of the great venues for IndyCar racing in very little time.''

Gov. Bobby Jindal, joined by officials from the track and Andretti Sports Marketing, said the race is expected to be locked into the IndyCar schedule for ''at least three years, though the goal is to make this a permanent event.''

Ongoing negotiations include scheduling a weekend for the event, which would also affect the timeline for track improvements that Miles said are needed for ''safety, fan enjoyment and quality of racing.''

Miles said the IndyCar series is looking at weekends in mid- to late-March and in June, largely because those are periods when New Orleans' robust tourism industry could use a spike in business.

Jindal will need state Legislative approval for $4.5 million, which will be combined with private money to cover marketing expenses and track improvements, including pit area, straight away and perimeter fencing enhancements. Organizers estimated as many as 80,000 spectators for the three-day event, which is slated to include a ''racing festival'' with live music and races featuring developmental open-wheel racing series such as Indy Lights as well as sports car series.

''This is great news for Jefferson Parish and our entire state,'' Jindal said. ''This three-day event would allow us to show off the excitement of an IndyCar race right here in Louisiana, as well as our state's culture, entertainment and food. This event will be a great economic driver.''

The NOLA Motorsports Park, a private, $60 million facility about 14 miles southwest of downtown New Orleans, features a 2.75-mile road course that has already hosted AMA motorcycle racing and Indy Lights, as well as the Pro Mazda and USF2000 series.

The track is owned by Dr. Laney Chouest, whose family founded and operates Edison Chouest Offshore, regarded as one of the world's leading builders and operators of sea vessels specially designed to service the offshore oil and gas industries.

''We wouldn't be here without the vision of Dr. Laney Chouest,'' Jindal said. ''He's built this beautiful facility as a labor of love and today we're seeing one of the benefits to the state.''

Chouest thanked Jindal for supporting a ''public-private partnership that will leverage the significant private investment we made.''

Chouest said he expected race-day spectator capacity to be about 50,000, using mostly temporary grandstands, but said space around the track would allow that figure to grow to meet ticket sales. Chouest said he also expected the race to be held in June and wasn't concerned about hot weather, which is common at summer auto racing events and can even help drivers with tire grip.

IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, who races for Andretti Autosport, took a few laps around the track in a Mercedes-Benz sedan. Although Indy cars top speeds of 200 mph, Hinchcliffe said he expected top speeds in New Orleans to run around 180 mph because of the down force required to negotiate some of the track's higher-speed turns.

Some track changes will involve lengthening straightaways and tightening turns at the ends of those straights, which shortens breaking zones and enhances passing opportunities.

''The facility is very impressive,'' Hinchcliffe said. ''The proposed changes will be really good and have a huge effect on the racing in a positive way.''

Organizers were confident enough in the event's success that they launched an official website, indynola.com, which referred to the event as, ''Inevitable.''

''I'm really pleased to see IndyCar preparing to bring a race to NOLA,'' said former racer Michael Andretti, CEO of Andretti Sports Marketing. ''New Orleans is a great market to grow the sport.''

IndyCar, which includes the Indianapolis 500 as its marquee event, is the premier American-based open-wheel racing series.

Currently, the series' drivers include Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon, who are former Indy 500 winners, as well as Marco Andretti, the grandson of former racing great Mario Andretti, and Graham Rahal, son of 1986 Indy winner Bobby Rahal.



 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0344web.jpg ‘Lucky 7’ comes through in the 3rd

    Over the course of his four-year baseball career at Verdigris High School, third baseman Ryan Skalnik has had his share of memorable at-bats.
    None more important than Tuesday’s appearance in the Large School East-West All-State Game at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa.
    Skalnik, who was the lone senior this season for Verdigris and a four-time Class 3A state champion, thrived under pressure in the top of the third inning for the East.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Larue, Skalnik power East to 3-0 victory

    The East blanked the West 3-0 in the Large School All-State Baseball Game Tuesday night at J. L. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Oral Roberts University.
    Claremore catcher Matt Whatley and third baseman Ryan Skalnik of Verdigris represented Rogers County in the contest.
    Skalnik finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI's.  Whatley was 0-for-1 with a walk.

    July 30, 2014

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • RSU places 77 student-athletes on Heartland Conference Academic All-Conference Honor Roll

    The Heartland Conference announced that more than 1000 student-athletes from its 12 member institutions landed a spot on the Academic All-Conference honor roll, including 77 from Rogers State.
     
    The Hillcats had 33 student-athletes named to the President's Honor Roll while 44 earned Commissioner's Honor Roll recognition.

    July 31, 2014

  • Indoor football coming back to Enid?

     Is Enid ready to give professional arena football another try? Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers owner Mark Timberlake think so, and are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.

    July 31, 2014

  • OU holds Mixon out of practice, investigation continues

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today, but freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there, the school announced Wednesday night.

    The university, in its statement, said “Joe Mixon is not reporting for team activities at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

    July 31, 2014

  • Ticket options available for Arkansas women's basketball

    The excitement surrounding head coach Jimmy Dykes and the 2014-15 University of Arkansas women’s basketball season is building every day in Northwest Arkansas.

    As the excitement builds, the Razorback Ticket Center has announced the availability of women’s basketball season ticket plans including several new options for this season.  Tickets go on sale beginning today and can be purchased online at ArkansasRazorbacks.com or by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at 800-982-4647.  Current season ticket holders will receive renewal forms in the mail the first week of August.

    July 31, 2014

  • Ex-OSU baseball players Oliver, Hague on new paths in All-Star season

    Matt Hague has transitioned to being a power hitter and Andy Oliver has evolved into a shutdown closer.

    The former Oklahoma State players were both named International League All-Stars after reinventing themselves this season with the Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    July 31, 2014

  • Ex-Sooner Courtney Paris finding niche with Shock

    It looked like it came easily to Courtney Paris. The minute she stepped foot on the campus at the University of Oklahoma in 2005, it seemed she was already an All-American and destroying the competition in the Big 12 and across the nation.

    July 31, 2014

  • MLB: Keuchel tosses 4-hitter, Astros roll past A's

    In at least one category, Dallas Keuchel is Clayton Kershaw's equal. For at least one three-game series, Houston was better than Oakland.

    Keuchel pitched a four-hitter and Robbie Grossman homered to cap a six-run first inning that sent the Astros past the Athletics 8-1 Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014