Jul 11, 2011
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VIR's Connie Nyholm poses with John Ulrich (left) and Chris Ulrich (right) in 2002, after taking a two-up ride at VIR with Chris Ulrich. Photo by Bruce Wilkins/Virginia Breeze.
VIR has sent out a notice headlined "Media Alert" and dated today, which reads:
"No AMA Pro Racing event will take place at VIR in 2011. If circumstances are conducive in 2012, VIR looks forward to renewing its relationship with AMA Pro Racing."
The race was scheduled to be be held on August 12-14.
The development drops the 2011 AMA Pro Superbike Series to eight rounds, down from 10 rounds promised by AMA Pro Racing.
At post time, AMA Pro Racing COO David Atlas had not returned a phone call nor an e-mail seeking comment.
At original post time, the racetrack's website still featured the event, here:
The track has since removed ticket sales information and other references to the event from its website.
The decision to not hold the event was apparently made by track principal Connie Nyholm, and first communicated to AMA Pro Racing less than three weeks ago. According to knowledgeable sources, the track and AMA Pro Racing had reached an agreement for the 2011 event in December, 2010.
Attendance at VIR's AMA Pro event appeared to decline significantly in 2010, after the track took over promotion of its AMA Pro weekend from M1 Promotions, which had promoted the race weekend as The Big Kahuna in 2005-2009.
That followed a similar situation at Road Atlanta, where M1 had started The Big Kahuna event. After M1 grew the event in 1999-2004, Road Atlanta management declined to renew its contract with M1 and took over promotion, setting off a decline in attendance.
General Manager Josh Leif, who ran the track at the time of the 2010 AMA Pro event at VIR and who had reached agreement with AMA Pro Racing over the 2011 event, is no longer working at the track.
More, from a press release issued by AMA Pro Racing:
VIR Cancels Suzuki White Lightening Nationals, AMA Pro Road Racing Round 8
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (July 11, 2011) - It is with deep regret that AMA Pro Racing is forced to announce VIR's cancellation of the Suzuki White Lightning Nationals, Round 8 on the AMA Pro Road Racing season calendar. Despite AMA Pro Racing's efforts to preserve the originally scheduled August 12-14 event, VIR staff notified AMA Pro Racing late Monday, July 11, of its final decision not to host or promote the race weekend.
"AMA Pro Racing has made VIR a part of its season calendar for the past decade," said AMA Pro Racing COO and Managing Member David Atlas, "and I am gravely disappointed by the impact this will have on our paddock, fans, and other series participants. I assure all of those involved parties that a significant effort was made to negotiate an arrangement that would have preserved the event."
AMA Pro Racing will refund all event-specific fees paid to AMA Pro Racing by series participants.
The AMA Pro Road Racing Championship was in action this past weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course -- its 29th appearance at the historic Ohio facility -- where track officials welcomed a banner crowd that witnessed fiercely competitive action in all four classes. AMA Pro Racing looks forward to bringing its talent-packed paddock to fans at upcoming 2011 events, the schedule for which can be viewed at amaproracing.com.
The AMA Pro Road Racing series next heads to Monterey, California's Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Round 7 on the calendar. The July 22-24 event will run as part of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix MotoGP World Championship weekend.
This Just In:
Reached by phone at 6:40 Florida time, AMA Pro Racing COO David Atlas told Roadracingworld.com, "AMA Pro Racing is very troubled by this development just some 40-odd days before the event. We had been working with VIR staff since February, planning the event. And I am deeply troubled by the injuries that will be suffered by our athletes, our teams, sponsors and the series by this development. I have been working on a daily basis since June 23rd to try to influence VIR to conduct the event according to the schedule agreed upon in December of last year."
Read more here:
Connie Nyholm can be seen in this Carolina Breeze website posting, circa 2003: