It was a staple on the IndyCar calendar for years, whether the week after the Indianapolis 500 or later in the summer, the Milwaukee Mile produced incredible short track IndyCar action. The track, settled inside Wisconsin State Fair Park, is the oldest operating oval in the world. It has also hosted CART as well as Nascar’s Truck and Xfinity Series over the last thirty years.
The Milwaukee Mile and promoter Track Enterprises announced last week a return to the NASCAR schedule. In 2023, the Nascar Truck Series will return to southern Wisconsin for the first time in 10 years. I recently caught up with race organizer Bob Sargent from Track Enterprises on the future of the Milwaukee Mile and if this is the first step to adding other racing series to the famous oval.
Q. How do you bring everyone to the table to start working towards a truck race at Milwaukee and how ultimately did you and your team get it done?
BOB: IT TAKES A LOT OF GOOD RELATIONSHIPS AND SEVERAL YEARS OF DISCUSSIONS, THERE ARE MANY PIECES OF THE PUZZLES, TALKING TO THE WISCONSIN STATE FAIR BOARD AND THEN PROVING OURSELVES. WE HAVE DONE SEVERAL ARCA SERIES IN THE PAST AND PUT ON GOOD SHOWS.
Q. How important is it for fans to support some of these other series races to prove that fans will show up if a bigger series comes back to the track like the Nascar Craftsman Truck Series?
BOB: IT’S VERY IMPORTANT, THIS IS ALL ABOUT FAN SUPPORT, TEAM SUPPORT AND SPONSOR SUPPORT. IT’S A GROUP EFFORT, EVERYONE IS CRUCIAL IN THE PIECES TO THE PUZZLE.
Q. Milwaukee is one the oldest race tracks in the US, Wisconsin doesn’t have the greatest of winters, what has that been like when you went through your evaluations?
BOB: WHEN WE FIRST WENT BACK YEARS AGO AND LOOKED AROUND, WE WERE ASTONISHED BY HOW WELL THEY KEPT IT UP. WE COULD HAVE RUN A RACE THERE THE NEXT DAY. THEY HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB KEEPING IT IN GREAT SHAPE.
Q. It’s easy to say, “run the race during the state fair to attract more people.” What goes into a date for a race weekend and why does it sometimes not work out to host during the fair?
BOB: THEY DO SUCH A GREAT JOB WITH THE STATE FAIR, OVER A MILLION PEOPLE GO THROUGH THERE, WITH THAT, IT LEAVES ISSUES IN PARKING AND TAKES UP ALOT OF VENDOR SPACE, THERE ARE PLENTY OF FACTORS THAT GO INTO THAT HAPPENING DURING THE FAIR.
Q. Do you take into consideration other tracks within a 5-6 hour drive of Milwaukee including Road America who has had NASCAR dates in the past?
BOB: YES, ROAD AMERICA, LOCAL TRACKS AND THE STATE FAIR WHICH IS A FEW WEEKS PRIOR. FOR MILWAUKEE, WE LOOK AT NFL AND MLB DATES AS WELL AS OTHER RACING EVENTS LOCALLY AS WELL.
Q. Sponsorship, marketing, landing sponsors, walk me through that process and the importance of sponsors to bring events to tracks like Milwaukee?
BOB: IT’S VERY IMPORTANT. WE WILL BE WORKING WITH NATIONAL SPONSORS, AND OF COURSE OUR OWN. WE WILL CERTAINLY BE ADDRESSING THAT.
Q. Give us the rundown on what Track Enterprises does for some awesome tracks around the country like Salen, Knoxville, Iowa, Five Flags Speedway and so on.
BOB: WE ARE VERY DIVERSE. WE WILL BE ON A DIRT TRACK ONE DAY, THE NEXT DAY WE WILL BE ON A ONE MILE OVAL. WE ARE IN SMALL RURAL HOME TOWNS, THEN A BIG CITY. WE ARE PROUD OF THAT. WE DEAL WITH SEVERAL DIFFERENT TYPES OF SANCTIONING BODIES.
Q. I know there isn’t much you can say, but we all want to see IndyCar back at the Milwaukee Mile.
BOB: WE DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY RIGHT NOW, IT’S NOT THAT WE DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT, BUT WE CERTAINLY HAVE OUR EYE ON THE TARGET OF MORE EVENTS IN THE FUTURE.
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