IndyCar announced Wednesday morning that they would no longer race at Twin Ring Motegi after this year.
I was not saddened by this because, no disrespect to the fine people of Japan, the racing at Motegi was putrid every year. Street oval. Festival of fuel strategy. Danica won there, sure, but the race was always nap-inducing, consumed three weekends of the schedule (with travel) and got .00002 television ratings.
The main threat now that Motegi is gone as of 2012, of course, is that IndyCar will replace Motegi with a road/street race. Not that I don't like road/street races, but IndyCar should hold to its policy of shooting for a 50/50 oval/twisty split. Losing a 1.5 mile track (after losing Kansas and Chicagoland last year) for a street race through downtown Wherever ... not cool. More to the point, here's an opportunity to replace bad oval racing with quality oval racing.
So write to IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, right now, and tell him you want an oval to replace Motegi. Oval for oval. That's fair. Suggest one an oval if you want. But make yourselves heard.
Randy's email (he says he reads them all, and I believe him): firstname.lastname@example.org
He's on facebook HERE. I already started the Please Replace Motegi with an Oval wall post.
IndyCar PR News Release on Motegi below ...
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES WILL NOT RETURN TO MOTEGI IN 2012
INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 9, 2011) - The IZOD IndyCar Series announced today that it will not return to Twin Ring Motegi in 2012.
The series will hold its final event at the 1.5-mile egg-shaped oval located north of Tokyo on Sept. 18, 2011.
"We've enjoyed a great run at Twin Ring Motegi and thank our friends at Mobilityland and Honda Japan for hosting a great event over the past eight years," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series. "While our businesses move in different directions, we will keep the door open for future events at the track.
"As INDYCAR and the IZOD IndyCar Series continue to evaluate their long term plans, we must look to build the sport and its viewership. We believe it is important that the final few events on our schedule give us the opportunity to be broadcast live during times that maximize our viewing audience as we build up to the championship. We will continue to meet with promoters domestically and internationally that want to pursue an IZOD IndyCar Series event.
Scott Sharp won the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series race at Twin Ring Motegi in 2003. The racetrack also was the site of Danica Patrick's historic win in 2007. Helio Castroneves and Dan Wheldon are two-time winners of the 200-lap race, while Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan also have recorded victories. Castroneves has started from the pole four times, including in September 2010 when he went on to lead 153 laps and claim the victory.
It was the first international event added to the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. Twin Ring Motegi, which opened in 1997 and is owned by Mobilityland Corp., played host to Champ Car events from 1998 to 2002.