The first IndyCar race ever to be held in China was cancelled on June 13 in deference to a local beer festival. Apparently, drinking and driving really don’t go together, even for spectators, and beer trumps motor sports. At least in China.
Coincides with International Beer Festival
The race, which was previously announced in November, was set to occur this summer on August 15. The date was reportedly chosen specifically because it coincides with the International Beer Festival. The festival runs from August 11 to 26 in the region. The race was to have been held on a nearly four mile loop of streets through the city.
New political administration
However, since the announcement of the event, a new mayor was elected who balked at the idea of two major events in the region occurring simultaneously.
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IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, who has been working with promoters on the Qingdao, China event for months, told the Associated Press:
“The new Mayor [of Qingdao] took office on March 28, and it was his opinion that it shouldn’t be run at the same time as the beer festival. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time at that point to reschedule or find a new location. We evaluated several different options and it was finally in the promoters’ best interest to cancel the event.”
Deadline came and went
Despite preexisting contracts, the new administration has been pressuring the promoters to consider a different date or location for the event. Wednesday’s deadline to finalize arrangements came and went.
Filling hole in schedule
IndyCar is considering its options to fill the hole in its calendar. According to Autoblog, an October 7 race at the Texas Motor Speedway is one option being considered.
According to Yahoo Sports, another possibility would be a race at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin Road America track. However, IndyCar has an event in nearby Milwaukee this coming weekend. Holding two events at such geographically close areas in the same season would be problematic for the racing organization.
Bernard told Sports Illustrated:
“I don’t think we need a decision right this minute. When we do it, we need to do it right and make sure it’s the best fit for the series and the schedule and the championship race.”
An annual event
The Tsingtao Brewery is located in Qingdao, and it festival has been held every year since 1991 in the city.