INDIANAPOLIS — One of the biggest questions swirling just prior to IndyCar’s official announcement of their 2018 schedule on Thursday was whether or not Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez would have a race date on the calendar.
The hard copy answer was no when the schedule was announced on paper, but Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles later said during a Thursday afternoon teleconference that a race in Mexico City is still very much possible.
Miles and Verizon IndyCar Series regular Graham Rahal were in Oregon to help local officials unveil and celebrate the return of Indy car racing to Portland Int’l Raceway for the first time since 2007, but joined the media via phone to discuss the inner workings of the 2018 schedule.
During the call, he tipped that a race in Mexico could still happen, but that there was still work to be done before an announcement could be made due to the recent earthquake that affected the region.
“I think there is still a possibility of adding Mexico City for next year,” Miles said. “We felt like with Portland being nailed down, that most of the schedule … a schedule we’re happy to have as our final schedule for next year, is set and ought to be public.”
“There is ongoing work in Mexico City to get to the track there. I think it’s quite close. We’re optimistic about the possibility, even yet (for the race) to be added for the 2018 schedule.”
Miles clarified that the Mexico City race, should it be added to next year’s schedule, would fall after the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 29.
“If it happens, it will be in there … probably just after Mid-Ohio, where we have a little longer break in the middle of our summer than we’d like,” Miles explained. “Everything we know about the opportunity there is exciting. It’s a great track, great facility and obviously a huge market with a lot of open-wheel fans and IndyCar fans.”
“We hope that can come together, but the schedule works for us if it doesn’t.”
Miles also said that IndyCar officials have not set a hard line as to when a decision would need to be made on confirming the Mexico City race yet, either.
“We have not presented a final deadline for (deciding on the race),” he said. “It would be a combination of what they would need time-wise to be successful in promoting an event in early August.”
“But from our perspective, yes, it could be added down the road.”
The last time Indy cars raced in Mexico was during the Champ Car season-finale in 2007, when Sebastien Bourdais won the Gran Premio Tecate at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to clinch his fourth-straight title.
Prior to that race, Indy cars raced twice a year in Mexico from 2002-2006, under CART/Champ Car sanction at both Hermanos Rodriguez and on a street circuit at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico.
CART first visited the Fundidora Park track in 2001, while Hermanos Rodriguez first appeared on the CART calendar in 1980 and 1981.
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Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
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