This has not been a good year for a Montreal promoter of automobile racing in Canada.
In September, Octane Motorsports Events, Inc., cancelled the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series race in Edmonton and filed for bankruptcy.
Today - Friday - Octane Management informed NASCAR that it would not promote the August, 2013, Nationwide Series weekend at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal that over the last six years has also featured the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
As Octane Management holds the rights to auto racing at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, there is no immediate hope that NASCAR could find another promoter to continue racing in Montreal.
Octane promotes the Formula One Grand Prix of Canada and has a contract that runs through 2014.
There was one year remaining on the Indy race contract with the City of Edmonton when Octane Motorsports Events, Inc., announced the cancellation and filed for bankruptcy. Court papers in Montreal showed more than $5 million owing.
Octane Management operated on a year-to-year contractual basis with NASCAR, so no contract was yet in place for 2013.
Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette reports that NASCAR was caught by surprise. As reported by Stubbs, NASCAR senior vice-president of racing operations Steve O’Donnell said from Daytona Beach:
“We certainly feel like we’ve had a great run in Montreal and certainly anticipated being back next year, if not many years beyond that. That was our intention.”
Stubbs reports that O'Donnell said Octane Management head François Dumontier told NASCAR he wanted a Sprint Cup race by itself or for the Nationwide race to be on the undercard of a Cup race in order to keep the event alive.
Said O’Donnell to the Gazette's Stubbs: “Canadian fans are huge supporters of NASCAR and it’s very important for us from a national-series perspective to be there. So we’ll certainly explore all avenues to do that. Who knows what the future brings? But it’s unfortunate it didn’t work out in Montreal.”
The 2013 Nationwide Series schedule has still not been issued. There is now officially a hole in it in August.
I was at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last Saturday for the CASC-Ontario Region Celebration of Motorsport races and can report that work is progressing on the new Corporate Centre on driver's left at Turn Ten. All will be ready by spring and just about everything else about the legendary circuit formerly known as Mosport - sight lines, pavement paddock, RV parking spaces, and so-on - has been spruced up.
I suggest there is a very good chance that the Nationwide Series race originally scheduled for Montreal next August will just be moved 470 kilometres west.
We should have word on that very soon - in fact, maybe sometime this weekend.
One last thing: this will not be good news for the Indy car race(s) at the CNE next July.
Auto racing is all about buzz, and I can tell you where the buzz is going to be around here next year and it ain't gonna be at the Ex.