INDYCAR announced plans for its inaugural race in China on Nov. 10, 2011, but it seems the race, scheduled for August 19, has been cancelled in favor of a beer festival. INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard said INDYCAR is “not closing the door” on opportunities for a future race there.
“We wanted to give the China race every opportunity to move forward and be successful, but INDYCAR has been notified by the promoter that the event is cancelled for 2012,” said Bernard. “We were informed that the promoter was trying to move the event to a different date and location. After ongoing discussions regarding alternative dates, as well as doing our due diligence in exploring alternate venues in China, the promoter cancelled the event. A decision had to be made to allow INDYCAR and its participants to plan accordingly for the second half of the season.”
It seems the Qingdao festival is taking precedence over the race. The new mayor that took over the host city in March reportedly has the opinion that the race should not take place at the same time as a beer festival. Clearly, the mayor, nor any of his advisors have been to an INDYCAR race. We’re not sure what goes more hand in hand than drinking and watching cars zoom by.
For the last 22 years, Qingdao has hosted the largest beer festival in Asia with international breweries from all over the globe flocking to China’s Shandong Province. The event lasts for two weeks and begins with a grand opening ceremony, followed by a beer tasting, evening entertainment, karaoke, drinking competitions, and a themed final ceremony. Besides beer, there is a mammoth amount of food to dig in to. It is unclear as to whether the race was supposed to be the spectacle of the day or just add to the beer festival, but original track maps show the race on the same streets as the beer fest. The track map has already been removed from the INDYCAR website.
Bernard added that INDYCAR is investigating a possible replacement event that will keep the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule at 16 races.
“We are working with our promoters that host events in the second half of our calendar to keep them apprised of how the date of a potential new race could impact our current schedule,” he said.
For more information on the Qingdao International Beer Festival, visit http://www.qingdaochinaguide.com/news/events/international-beer-festival.html. To keep up to date on the INDYCAR series, visit http://www.indycar.com/.