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IndyCar commits to New Orleans race in 2015

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm •  Published: May 4, 2014
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — IndyCar will race in the New Orleans area in 2015, Gov. Bobby Jindal confirmed through a spokeswoman Sunday.

The open-wheel race will come to the 2.75-mile road course at the private NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, about 14 miles southwest of downtown New Orleans.

Jindal's office told The Associated Press that the governor plans to make a formal and detailed announcement at the track Monday.

The $60 million NOLA Motorsports Park was designed by Alan Wilson, who also designed Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, and Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City.

The New Orleans track opened in 2011 and hosted AMA motorcycle racing in 2012. Developmental levels of open-wheel racing have run at the road course as recently as February, when it host the Cooper Tires WinterFest, featuring the Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 series.

While work on the complex is expected in advance of the event, the track itself is basically ready to handle an IndyCar race, said Jeff Lail, the race series coordinator for Skip Barber Racing School, which has hosted events at NOLA Motorsports Park.

"It's really good track for being a country-club-type track," Lail said. "There's a lot of runoff there, so it's pretty safe. We love going there because there's not a lot of crash damage. There's plenty of runoff room. ... They thought it out and made sure they had a track you could go pro racing with."

Proposed track changes for the IndyCar race include a new pit entrance and wider, longer pit lane, as well as adding perimeter fencing and straightaway enhancements.

No race date is expected to be announced Monday as IndyCar and track officials attempt to agree on which month to run the event. It is believed NOLA wants a June race date.

The track is owned by Dr. Laney Chouest, whose family founded and operates Edison Chouest Offshore, reputedly one of the world's leading builders and operators of sea vessels specially designed to service the offshore oil and gas industries.

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