No IRL race at RIR next year

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's a move that's expected to have an impact on the local economy. There's no doubt the Indy racing league event infuses funds into the local economy - but with the race not taking place here next year some business owners say they're certain the financial impact will be felt.

Ahmed Soilah owns Lucky Convenience Store. It's right across the street from Richmond International Raceway. On race day business jumps - big time.

"It's good. I make money ya know, everybody is happy when race day come because more money...more sales (More money more sales?)  Yeah, they buy beer, merchandise, cigarettes, and everything," said Ahmed.

Soilah says he's disappointed to hear that the Indy race series won't happen next year. He knows the move will impact sales.

Henrico county and surrounding localities near the track will also lose out on revenue, from hotel taxes - to retail sales taxes paid by Indy race fans. According to RIR, the event has brought in 53 million dollars yearly for nearly a decade. The reason why the series won't happen is simple:  the economy and quality of the event.

"It was a tough business decision we had to make. You look at the resource, the man power with putting on those events throughout the year and you look at the quality of the show," said Doug Fritz, RIR President.

After the SunTrust Indy Challenge last month, several drivers called the race boring and apologized to fans. There is a bit of good news, Raceway officials say just because the event is a no go for next year -- it doesn't mean it won't be back at RIR in years to come.

"This is not a never say never type program - so we'll continue to evaluate opportunities here that might be one of them down the road," said Fritz.

Raceway officials say they're now focusing on NASCAR weekend which will take place in September.

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