IndyCar racing is coming back to the Milwaukee Mile Speedway in 2024 after an eight-year hiatus.
The three-year contract between Penske Entertainment Corp., owners of the IndyCar Series, and the Wisconsin State Fair Park, home to the Milwaukee Mile Speedway, was announced Monday.
Two NTT IndyCar Series races will be held at the Milwaukee track over Labor Day weekend next year.
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Gov. Tony Evers said he is “jazzed” to see the Milwaukee Mile Speedway back on the schedule.
“It’s a huge win for southwest Wisconsin. It’s a huge win for our state. It’s a huge win for the State Fair Park and tourism in general,” Evers said.
According to Wisconsin State Fair Park, 1 million visitors come to the State Fair every year. Shari Black, CEO and Executive Director of State Fair Park, said she wants to see other events, like the races on the Milwaukee Mile Speedway, draw big crowds.
“We have some really big new ideas for this event,” Black said. “Our race fans can come enjoy this as a family-friendly event as well throughout the whole weekend.”
Milwaukee Mile Speedway is the oldest operating motor speedway in the world, hosting IndyCar races since 1939. Rodger Ward, Michael Andretti and Mario Andretti are only some of the drivers who have won on the track.
But the track held its last Indy race in 2015.
Roger Penske, owner of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said the racetrack in Milwaukee County is a part of history.
“It was just part of the DNA of the series, and we kinda lost that. And I think that’s one thing we’re trying to do as an ownership group to bring this back,” Penske said.
Scott Dixon, a six-time IndyCar series champion, said he is looking forward to racing again in Milwaukee. He won two races on this track, once in 2000 and again in 2009.
“A lot of great memories from this race and obviously (it’s) a great area for our fans. So definitely excited to see it back on the schedule,” Dixon said.
Milwaukee Mile Speedway will be the sixth and final oval-shaped track in the 2024 schedule which will make for one more oval track than was on the schedule the previous year. Dixon said racing on short oval tracks is a lot of fun.
“To come back to fundamentally what is part of the DNA of IndyCar, I think is important in moving forward,” Dixon said.
As the name implies, the track is one mile long. Penske said the configuration and distance of the track keep the fans engaged.
“They feel like they’re in the cars, they can see what’s going on,” Penske said.
According to IndyCar, sports car racing is growing in popularity. The 2023 season was the most watched season on record, totaling 1.32 million viewers. NBC will air 12 races next season. Every race will be available on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service.
The Milwaukee Mile Speedway races are replacing the stop at Texas Motor Speedway. Programming conflicts with the 2024 Olympic games and a NASCAR event contributed to the shift.
The races next year on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at Milwaukee Mile Speedway will be the last two before the championship in Nashville on Sept. 15.
“This opportunity was really obvious. It’s in our backyard. We had a tremendous amount of fans in this part of the country that love IndyCar racing,” Penske said.
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