IndyCar Series will not return to Las Vegas next year
The Izod IndyCar Series said Thursday it would not return next year to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where driver Dan Wheldon was killed Oct. 16 in a horrific 15-car crash.
The series is rolling out a newly designed car next season and "we need to give our technical team ample time to conduct thorough testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway" after a probe into the crash is completed, IndyCar Chief Executive Randy Bernard said in a statement.
IndyCar has yet to release its 2012 schedule but previously had said it planned to again hold its season-ending race at the track north of the Las Vegas Strip.
But some critics questioned whether IndyCar should be racing at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas oval where cars reached speeds of more than 220 mph on highly banked corners.
The speedway's president, Chris Powell, likewise said in a statement that it was “in everyone’s best interest to give the experts at IndyCar as much time as possible to compile their findings and conduct tests with the new car here at the speedway before we host another IndyCar event."
"We are very hopeful that the Indy Cars will return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2013," Powell said.
IndyCar will open next year's season with a street race March 25 in St. Petersburg, Fla., and the complete 2012 schedule "will be announced in the coming weeks," IndyCar said.
Photo: A makeshift memorial Oct. 17 outside Las Vegas Motor Speedway for IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon, who was killed the previous day in a racing crash there. Credit: Robert Laberge / Getty Images