I once worked for a Navy captain whose favorite saying was that nothing moves faster than bad news. Such is the case with the cancellation of the 2011 IndyCar race on the airport circuit at Edmonton, which moved from rumor last night to the official announcement this morning and now (sadly, inevitably) to the finger-pointing stage this afternoon.
IndyCar had the following to say in a statement:
"We are disappointed that the city and the promoter were unable to reach an agreement on the venue changes. It's unfortunate that in a time when IndyCar is experiencing momentum and growth, the city would want to miss out on the opportunity to be part of it. We've enjoyed our time at Edmonton as the fans there truly embraced Indy car racing. We currently are examining options for our schedule to see if there are opportunities to replace the event. ..."
Not to be outdone, Edmonton's chief financial officer Lorna Rosen had this to say, also in a statement:
"City Council quite properly set reasonable limits on the amount it was willing to invest and in the end we just could not make the money work. We looked at a range of possibilities for additional investment or cost savings. ... but the city reached its limit on what it could invest."
And last but not least, this comes from a statement by Francois Dumontier, president of Octane Motorsports Events, the race promoter:
"We set a deadline for a final answer from the City of Edmonton concerning the status of the eastern runway and its surroundings grounds at the City Centre Airport. Until the last minute, we hoped that the city would agree with our legitimate request to provide us a site equivalent to the one the previous promoters have worked with and without having our group investing in ground works. ... The city's final decision has made it impossible for us -- as professional and experienced motorsports promoters -- to offer an event complying with our high quality standards, able to satisfy the fans and the sanctioning organizations and maintain the quality of the spectacle."
(Ed: Don't you love dueling press releases? All that's missing is the theme music from a Clint Eastwood spaghetti Western.)
Another Navy captain I worked with used another saying I always liked, taken from the Stanley Kubrick movie Full Metal Jacket: "There's enough of this *#^@ sandwich for everyone to get a bite."
The City wanted to move the site so the airport could stay open ($ for the city); the promoters were willing to move to an alternate runway but balked at the cost ($) of bringing the new circuit up to standards. Despite large and enthusiastic crowds, the City routinely lost money ($) on the race and wasn't willing to cover the freight for upgrades. Left without a chair when the music stopped is IndyCar, which now has to find a new road/street course, preferably in Canada, which may or may not be up to standards ($) or available ($).