IndyCar returns to Milwaukee for June 16 race

CHRIS JENKINS AP Sports Writer Published:

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The IndyCar Series is returning to the Milwaukee Mile after all.

A marketing company led by former Indy driver and current team owner Michael Andretti announced Friday it will promote a race weekend at the one-mile oval June 15-16. The race will be held Saturday afternoon, and the two-day event is expected to include a concert and other entertainment.

The Milwaukee Mile is one of the nation's most historic tracks, but it originally was left off the 2012 IndyCar schedule that was announced in December.

"Andretti Sports Marketing is excited about promoting IndyFest at the Milwaukee Mile," said Andretti, who won at Milwaukee five times as a driver and three more times as a team owner. "It's a historic track in a great city, and it's a place that has always been a favorite for my family. But, more importantly, it's an ideal track for Indy cars and always produces exciting racing for the fans."

The Andretti-led effort will try to succeed where a string of promoters have failed in recent years.

The Milwaukee Mile withdrew from hosting major racing events in 2010 after previous track promoters ran into financial problems and the Wisconsin State Fair Park board of directors, which oversees the track, could not find a suitable replacement.

A new promoter was found to bring IndyCar back to Milwaukee last year, but the Father's Day race -- held on Sunday -- drew one of the smallest crowds of the season.

"It is essential that we keep The Milwaukee Mile's legacy alive, and we stand committed to continuing its IndyCar racing heritage," IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said. "We know there are passionate IndyCar fans in Wisconsin that want to see a successful event at the track. Together with Andretti Sports Marketing, we can deliver great racing at a great value to the loyal fans in the area while adding to the storied history of The Mile."

The Milwaukee Mile has held auto racing events since 1903. Although it began hosting NASCAR races in 1984, it is most closely linked to Indy-style racing.

NASCAR dropped it from its Nationwide and Truck Series schedules at the end of the 2009 season and has not been back.