WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) - IndyCar racing at the historic Milwaukee Mile track received a major boost Wednesday with a two-year commitment from a title sponsor with Wisconsin ties, as well as a date change that more closely links the race to the Wisconsin State Fair.
Andretti Sports Marketing announced ABC Supply Co. will sponsor the Milwaukee IndyFest for the next two seasons, and the race will run on Aug. 17 next year.
ABC Supply, a roofing and building products distributor, is headquartered in Beloit, Wis., and has been involved in auto racing as a sponsor of A.J. Foyt Racing for almost a decade. The race will be the weekend following the end of the Wisconsin State Fair at State Fair Park, an event that has drawn more than 900,000 people each of the last three years.
"It's an old facility, but it's got so much character," said Michael Andretti, who revived the open-wheel event in 2012 and helped prevent it from being removed from the IndyCar schedule. "From a track standpoint, if you ask any driver, this is one of their favorite tracks to come to. I think the facility is plenty good to do what we need to do."
Andretti, who won the Milwaukee race five times as a driver, said he was committed to Milwaukee, but obtaining a title sponsor was crucial.
"It came down to we needed more support," Andretti said. "We needed somebody like ABC to come up and step it up. Without them, we wouldn't have been able to make. We met with them and they understood what it means to the community because they're local. So, they understand what this event means and they stepped it up and came in and supported it. Without them, it would have been really difficult."
Andretti also said Indy Lights and the Pro Mazda Championship will run during the Aug. 16-17 event.
"Wisconsin, West Allis and State Fair Park, we have a long tradition, deep and rich history with racing," said John Yingling, board chairman of State Fair Park. "I can tell you that the Wisconsin State Fair Park board is committed to continuing this tradition and is committed to having Indy here."
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