JOLIET, Ill. – One of the country's most historic auto racing tracks might be making a comeback, as IndyCar officials are talking to potential promoters about getting the Milwaukee Mile back on the schedule.
Milwaukee could replace Chicagoland Speedway as an IndyCar venue, although it remains unclear whether a deal can be put together for next season — and, if so, when the reconstituted race would be held.
Speaking to reporters before Saturday night's race at Chicagoland, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said "several" promoters are interested in bringing the series back to Milwaukee.
"I want that event bad," Bernard said.
The track withdrew from hosting major racing events this year after previous track promoters ran into financial problems and the Wisconsin State Fair Park board of directors could not find a suitable replacement.
The Mile began hosting auto racing events in 1903, and has held IndyCar and the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck series in recent years. It is most closely linked to Indy-style racing, traditionally hosting a race the weekend after the Indianapolis 500.
"I think that we have a tremendous fan base that feels like we left them behind, and I think that this is a step forward to make sure tradition stays a part of IndyCar," Bernard said.
At this point, Bernard doesn't seem to be counting on any financial help from the state of Wisconsin.
"The state would like to help us," Bernard said. "The state's in a pickle in their own mind. I never want to be a parasite to any state. I don't think that's fair to the state, (and) I don't think it looks good upon IndyCar. But it has to be viable. So right now, we're trying to figure out how we make this event viable with what we have to work with."
Bernard also has held meetings with representatives from track ownership group International Speedway Corp. about IndyCar's future at Chicagoland, but he didn't sound optimistic on Saturday.
"ISC has their primary objectives and IndyCar has their primary objectives, and I'm not sure if we're all on the same page right now," Bernard said. "But we still have a great relationship with ISC going forward, and we're still trying to figure out what that would be."
Chicagoland is moving its NASCAR Sprint Cup series race to September to kick off the season-ending championship Chase next year, making it unlikely that the track would host another major event in late August.
And given the proximity of the markets, Bernard isn't sure the IndyCar series needs to be in the Chicago area and Milwaukee.
"It would most likely be Chicago or Milwaukee possibly," Bernard said. "I mean, I don't know if we need both."
The full 2011 IndyCar schedule could be announced in the next few weeks.