NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR removes Mexico City from schedule

INDIANAPOLIS - NASCAR will not return to Mexico next season, ending the four-year experiment with the Nationwide Series in Mexico City, but the sanctioning body will not leave empty-handed.

NASCAR officials confirmed Sunday that due to a variety of factors, including the growth and stability of NASCAR's touring series in Mexico and lower attendance at the Nationwide event, the road course race at the Hermanos Rodriguez Autodrome will not appear on 2009 series schedule.

"This was never about a single event. The big idea was to strengthen motorsports in Mexico," said Robbie Weiss, a NASCAR vice president with responsibilities in broadcasting and the company's international efforts. "We didn't create racing in Mexico and it has a long heritage, but in reality the racing market down there was very fragmented.

"The idea was could we help relaunch and strengthen the Mexican motorsports community with the big idea of launching a national championship that would be the most significant championship in the country."

Weiss said the key was establishing the NASCAR brand in the country, which he said was accomplished by bringing in the Nationwide Series with the help of local promoter OCESA to acquaint Mexicans with NASCAR.

The race was never intended to be a permanent fixture, he said.

"We always said were not going on a global tour; that is not what this was about," Weiss said. "Canada and Mexico are unique. In both cases, we're on a good road and pretty pleased with where we're at."

The Mexico race will be replaced on the schedule next season with another event in the United States, said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's vice president of racing operations. He declined to name the track.

Sources told the Observer and on Sunday that the likely venue is the recently opened Iowa Speedway, a seven-eighths-mile track in Newton, Iowa. The track already hosts IndyCar and NASCAR Camping World East series events.

NASCAR's Corona Mexico series ran its first points race this season during the Nationwide weekend in April. The series has expanded to 14 races featuring 11 oval tracks, including three new facilities.