Despite success, race could die

Dean McNulty, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

MONTREAL -- The skies were blue at least for most of the day, the grandstands were packed and the racing was world class.

So why was there a sour note being sounded Saturday about the future of the NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA 200 -- the second-biggest motorsports event, after the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, in this country?

It is an event that draws more than 60,000 race fans to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, more than the total of the Honda Indy Toronto and the Edmonton Indy combined.

The problem is that the Quebec government has balked at putting up $500,000 to promote the province's tourism industry at the race.

While on the surface it would appear not to be much of an obstacle, that amount would be matched by the federal government so it becomes a $1-million deal.

The race promoters -- Stock Car Montreal, in conjunction with the Octane Group -- contend the race won't happen without that money.

Others suggest it is just another part of the negotiations to get a better deal from government.

In a statement this week Stock Car Montreal VP Andrew Gurtis said the group "was encouraged" that a new contract could be worked out to have NASCAR back next season.

"Looking ahead to 2012 and the potential future of Stock Car Montreal, we are encouraged by the strong interest from race fans, media, sanctioning bodies and the Montreal community for continuing this popular race weekend," Gurtis said. "Discussions are ongoing with all relevant parties in Montreal concerning future plans. We expect to have a decision in the next few weeks and will make an announcement at the appropriate time."


Videos

Photos