SURFERS PARADISE, Australia -- As the Indy 300 welcomed its
4 millionth spectator Sunday, plans were under way to keep the
event in Australia until at least 2013.
The current contract between race organizers and Champ Car
expires in 2008, but race chairman Terry Mackenroth said Sunday
that meetings have already taken place to extend that another five
"That's subject to negotiation, but the Premier [Peter Beattie]
and the government are committed," Mackenroth said.
The Queensland state government has heavily subsidized the race
since it was first held in 1991, but Beattie says tourism and the
local economy benefit.
Champ Car series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven, an expatriate
Australian and team owner, said the series would also like to see
the Australian race continue.
"There's a lot of mutual respect on both sides and we would
like to keep everything going," said Kalkhoven.
Former Formula One owner Paul Stoddart, an Australian who lives
in Britain, has been meeting with Kalkhoven and other series
officials about the possibility of entering a team next year.
The race has averaged more than 300,000 spectators for the past
several years, and topped that total again this year.