News & Media

Montreal race's future in doubt because of funding

July 08, 2011, The Associated Press,

MONTREAL -- Canada's only NASCAR race might be in jeopardy.

The Quebec government on Wednesday rejected developer Francois Dumontier's request for $1 million in government assistance, half each from Quebec and Ottawa, to help offset an anticipated $1.6 million deficit.

"The developer has not satisfactorily proven to the Department of Tourism that it would be profitable for them to invest in the event," said Isabelle Lord, spokeswoman for Tourism Minister Nicole Menard.

This funding shortfall likely means August's Nationwide Series race will be the end of NASCAR racing at the Gilles Villeneuve track on Montreal's Ile Notre-Dame.

The city of Montreal's contract with International Speedway Corporation and its promoter expired June 30. It is the only such event in the country.

The city reacted strongly several years ago when it lost the Formula One Grand Prix, which brings wealthy international tourists and huge parties to Montreal. The city did get the F1 race back.

An event attendance spreadsheet from Tourisme Montreal listed the comparative attendance for 2008 -- the last year figures for both events were available -- as 319,000 for the Formula 1 race and 100,000 for the NASCAR event.

Montreal's mayor, however, seemed unfazed by the possible loss of the NASCAR race.

"Efforts were made," Mayor Gerald Tremblay said. "It's unfortunate, but maybe there will be other events in the future."