IndyCar: Brazil race canceled; St. Pete to serve as season opener

The streets of St. Petersburg will now serve as the season-opener for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar season on March 29.

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The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season just got shorter by nearly a month with reports out of Brazil that the March 8 season-opener at Brasilia has been canceled.

“BAND announced [Thursday] that the race scheduled for March 8 in Brasilia has been canceled,” reads a statement from IndyCar. “This comes as a great disappointment, and we will have further comment when we have had the opportunity to talk with all of our partners and the authorities in Brazil.”

The following is posted on the front page of the official website for the event.

“The Band announces that Terracap, Development Agency of the Federal District, which hired the station to perform the Brazilian stage of Indy unilaterally canceled the race scheduled for March 8. The cancellation of the ‘Brasilia Indy 300’ was informed the direction of the station on the afternoon of Thursday. The Band, promoter of the event, inform the next few days how will the refund of the amount paid for the tickets. The station regrets this reckless attitude and will continue investing in the promotion of sports and big events.”

The race was supposed to be INDYCAR’s return to the South American country after a one-year absence from running the streets of Sao Paulo. This event would be held at the Brazilian capital city of Brasilia for a high-speed contest at Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet on March 8, 2015.

Terracap is a government-owned company that owns the racetrack.

INDYCAR previously sanctioned a Verizon IndyCar Series street race in São Paulo (2010-13) and CART raced in Rio de Janeiro (1996-2000) on an oval circuit that was also named in honor of Piquet.

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At the time of the announcement last September, Brazilian officials had high hopes for the event.

“I look forward to having the race in Brasilia; it will be a marvelous event not only for developing Brasilia but for all of Brazil,” Brasília’s former Governor Agnelo Queiroz said while visiting the Indianapolis 500 last May. “The racetrack is located close to downtown and we expect more than 100,000 fans at the event. The racetrack is a permanent facility and it was built in the center of the city in 1973, and we were determined in our improvements that the track should meet the safety and performance requirements for INDYCAR, F1 and MotoGP. We truly hope the event will bring investments and economic development for the whole Central region of Brazil.”

With the cancellation the season will begin with the March 29 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

More details to follow.

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