NASCAR will not race in Montreal next season after the promoter pulled the plug on the six-year relationship.
The official announcement Friday by promoter Francois Dumontier ended a surprising turn of events for NASCAR, which wanted to continue running the Nationwide Series at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
"NASCAR was preparing to return for 2013, however we were unable to come to an agreement to renew the sanction," NASCAR said in a statement.
Dumontier is head of Octane Management, which also promotes Formula One's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. The group also ran the IndyCar race at Edmonton, but declined to continue that event next season. Octane filed for bankruptcy Sept. 24 and a creditor's list shows debts over $5 million.
Dumontier recently informed NASCAR he was only interested in hosting a Sprint Cup Series race, and if Nationwide was his only option, he wanted to run the event at 9 a.m. on a Sunday. The demands derailed an agreement that NASCAR thought it already had in place for a 2013 race.
The event in Montreal was one of the most popular of the season in the second-tier Nationwide Series, and its events were considered among the most exciting on the schedule. It also created opportunities for Canadian drivers — Jacques Villeneuve, Alex Tagliani and Ron Fellows — to compete in a national NASCAR series.
"NASCAR appreciates the support and enthusiasm the great fans of Montreal have shown during our six years of exciting racing at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. It's been a great run for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at this historic venue," NASCAR said.
NASCAR hopes to still be race in Canada next season, possibly with the Truck Series. One potential venue for NASCAR is Mosport International Raceway in Toronto. The track is co-owned by Fellows, the popular veteran who won Montreal's NAPA 200 in 2008.
NASCAR also plans to fill the void left by Montreal in its 33-race schedule, which has yet to be announced. NASCAR's preference is to explore new markets where it's not currently sanctioning national series events, and is leaning toward a road course race. Potential venues include Mid-Ohio and Road Atlanta.