Wisconsin State Fair track will lose $2 million, audit say: A new Legislative Audit Bureau review of the Wisconsin State Fair Park estimates the fair's racetrack will lose nearly $2 million this year. While revenue from racing events will exceed expenditures by about $81,000 this year, the fair is responsible for $1.9 million in debt service costs from the Grandstand renovation, the audit released Wednesday says. No major racing events are scheduled at the Milwaukee Mile this year. The State Fair Park Board is studying how to bring major racing back to the historic racetrack, but it has been unable to find a promoter. The audit also reported the fair had a surplus of $828,000 in fiscal 2008-'09. The surplus reflects higher fair attendance and additional revenue from parking and concessions. Still, the fair had an accumulated cash deficit of $7.8 million as of June 30, 2009. The audit also raised a warning about "in-kind support," in which businesses provide goods or services in return for admission tickets, parking passes, advertising and other items. While in-kind support can help the fair, the audit concluded, "this type of activity comes with a risk of inappropriate use that requires careful monitoring and tracking. We are concerned because State Fair Park has few policies and procedures in place to ensure transparency and accountability over the process."
Auditors reviewed 122 in-kind agreements from the 2008 and 2009 fairs. "Although required to do so by generally accepted accounting principles, State Fair Park did not report in-kind support in its financial statements until we raised concerns during this audit," the audit says. The audit found that formal written agreements did not exist in nine instances. Moreover, the number of main stage concert tickets distributed did not always match the documentation authorizing their distribution. Auditors also discovered that fair officials used an in-kind component in some bids for business. The audit says, "We caution State Fair Park to ensure all businesses have an equal opportunity to participate in the bidding process." Richard Frenette, the fair's executive director, said the fair was whittling down the deficit and would post a profit when the fiscal year ends June 30. "We will show $3.2 million in profit at the end of the fiscal year, and will reduce our deficit to $4.6 million," he said.
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(6-24-2010)
NASCAR, Milwaukee Mile settle lawsuit: Wisconsin Motorsports and NASCAR have quieted settled their lawsuit. NASCAR had sued the promoter that put on two races at the Milwaukee Mile last season, accusing it and operator Claude Napier for failing to pay $1.9 million for two races last June. Napier still owes Indy Racing an estimated $1.2 million for a race in May 2009. He owes nearly $21,000 to the state of Wisconsin and, reportedly, tens of thousands of dollars to contractors who worked with him last season. No suits by any group except NASCAR have been officially announced to this point.(Pierce County Herald)(1-16-2010)
Nationwide Series going to Road America: UPDATE: Despite the demise of the Milwaukee Mile, NASCAR still plans to come to Wisconsin in 2010. Elkhart Lake's Road America -- arguably the best road course in the country -- will host the Nationwide Series on June 19, the date that had been held for the Mile. That will make for a road-racing doubleheader weekend for NASCAR, with the Sprint Cup Series in Sonoma, Calif. Stock cars aren't entirely new to RA. Tim Flock won in NASCAR's premier division in its only appearance in 1956. Lower divisions have competed at the track, including the defunct NASCAR Midwest Series in 2001, a race won by current Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver Paul Menard.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(12-21-2009)
>UPDATE: NASCAR announced that it will continue its 17-year streak of racing on a national-series level in Wisconsin with the addition of the historic Road America course to its 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. The Road America 200 at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn track located in Elkhart Lake, Wis., replaces the event previously scheduled at the Milwaukee Mile and will be run on Saturday, June 19.(NASCAR PR)(12-21-2009)
No NASCAR race at Milwaukee Mile in 2010: The Milwaukee Mile, the oldest continually operating motor speedway in the country, won't be hosting a national race in 2010. That was the word late Wednesday from Wisconsin State Fair Park officials, who said there would be no NASCAR or Indy Racing League racing next year at the famed Mile. "I'm sorry for this," was the message Susan Crane, chairwoman of the State Fair Park Board, said she wanted to tell race fans. "We tried to do everything we could to secure racing. But we're not giving up." The announcement is a blow to motorsports fans in the region and a blow to community pride. Both Crane and Craig Barkelar, the fair's interim executive director, said they hoped to bring national racing back to the Mile in 2011.
Crane and Barkelar said that, after Wisconsin Motorsports, the race promoter that staged races last summer, went out of business, they tried to negotiate with four different promoters. State Fair officials said they hoped to generate some revenue next year with car clubs, driving schools and some tire and car testing. There is also the hope of staging some regional races next year. NASCAR had scheduled two races for next June: the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck series. NASCAR now is backing away, though the race body has not yet made that official.(in part from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also a story at BizTimes)(12-16-2009)
Giuffres out of Milwaukee Mile deal: In unusually caustic language, the presumptive promoter of the Milwaukee Mile on Friday accused the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board and its chairwoman, Susan Crane, of sabotaging a proposed operating agreement.
"Apparently, Sue Crane and her board just simply don't understand business, business protocol or good faith contract negotiations," Frank and Dominic Giuffre wrote in a letter to the board. "We now have no intention of going anywhere with Sue Crane and her board, because you quite simply can't be trusted," they wrote. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm out of auto racing," Frank Giuffre said Friday afternoon. The Giuffre group would have become the fourth promoter in six seasons, following State Fair Park, Milwaukee Mile Holdings (2006-'08) and Wisconsin Motorsports. NASCAR included the Mile on its 2010 Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series schedules. Officials have said they want to return but won't do so until debts left by the previous promoter are satisfied. Wisconsin Motorsports LLC, led by Claude Napier, left owing NASCAR upward of $1 million for 2009. With the Mile contract a dead issue, at least for now, those races and the future of the track are again in doubt. A NASCAR official could not be reached for comment.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-21-2009)
Milwaukee Mile deal could get done: The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board on Friday unanimously agreed to work with local businessmen Frank and Dominic Giuffre on an contract to promote races at the Milwaukee Mile. The board said it would try to reach agreement as soon as possible. The new group is tentatively called the Historic Milwaukee Mile Operating Group LLC. Craig Barkelar, the fair's interim executive director, said both sides hoped to finalize a deal in a matter of days. Besides the Giuffre brothers, the new group includes billionaire John Menard; John Kaishian, owner of the Crystal Ridge ski hill in Franklin and longtime owner of the old Hales Corner Speedway; and the Decker family, owner-operators of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River. Giuffre's group replaces Historic Mile LLC, led by Tony Machi, which failed after several months of negotiations to come up with the needed funds to satisfy NASCAR and fair officials. Assuming the deal passes muster with NASCAR and fair negotiators, the next step for the Giuffres is to secure arrangements to host two NASCAR races next June 18 and 19 at the track.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-7-2009)
Milwaukee Mile promoter pulls out UPDATE: Tony Machi, whose investor group wanted to promote races at the Milwaukee Mile, told Wisconsin State Fair Park officials on Tuesday that his group is pulling out. Machi's decision means the future of the historic racetrack is in jeopardy. The 106-year-old track is the oldest continuously operated speedway in the country. Machi said Tuesday that his group, which includes local businessman Jim Beaudoin, could not reach agreement with NASCAR. NASCAR has scheduled two races next summer at the track, but wanted Machi's group, Historic Mile LLC, to pay sanction fees run from last summer's races as well as the fees for the two races next summer. Machi said he had funding for the 2010 races, but could not come up with funds to pay NASCAR. With Historic Mile out, the focus now shifts to the Giuffre brothers, local businessmen who have promoted races at the track before. The Giuffres had made their intentions known months ago, but State Fair officials elected to negotiate with Historic Mile first.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-4-2009)
UPDATE: Despite the latest setback in signing a new race promoter, racing at the Milwaukee Mile in 2010 remains a possibility, a NASCAR spokesman said Wednesday. After a three-month process, Historic Mile LLC informed State Fair Park on Tuesday that it could not secure the financing necessary and would withdraw as the prospective promoter. Almost immediately, park management turned its attention to a group led by Frank Giuffre, a former promoter, and his brother, Dominic. That group was rejected in August, when the park board of directors instead chose to sign a letter of intent with Historic Mile. The racetrack is on the agenda of a fair board meeting Friday.
"We're in touch with the fair board, and Milwaukee is a very important market to us and we're considering every option available," said Ramsey Poston, managing director of corporate communications for NASCAR. Poston refused to place a timeline on the decision-making process. Throughout its discussions with NASCAR, Historic Mile faced deadlines that were extended numerous times. NASCAR has scheduled Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series races for June 18-19. The Giuffres ran the track from 1985-'91 and had negotiated for promotion rights again before the 2006 season. Although Frank Giuffre has been critical of the board's selection process, he has maintained interest and has produced letters of credit from local banks for $10 million each. "We're just excited about reviving racing in Milwaukee. We hope to conclude negotiations on Friday," Giuffre said. Giuffre said his investor group includes billionaire John Menard; John Kaishian, longtime owner of the old Hales Corners Speedway; and the Decker family, owner-operators of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River. Poston said NASCAR had no feelings, positive or negative, about the Giuffre group.(Milwaukee Journal)(11-5-2009)
Promotions contract approved for Milwaukee Mile: The State Fair Park board of directors conditionally approved the racing promotions contract for Historic Mile LLC at the end of its 3 1/2-hour meeting Monday. Historic Mile must meet a Thursday deadline to have money in escrow for NASCAR to meet the provisions of the sanction agreement for 2010. If it does, board chairman Sue Crane has been given the board's OK to execute the contract. Tony Machi and Jim Beaudoin, the two known partners in Historic Mile, met with the board in closed session for nearly an hour but were not at the meeting for the unanimous vote. Machi fielded several questions procedural questions before he and Beaudoin left, saying as he has previously that he could not discuss the source or sources of his group's financial backing. Then Machi declined to comment further, "especially with these two guys here," referring to brothers Frank and Dominic Giuffre, who have expressed interest in returning as promoters. Machi and Frank Giuffre have had a public disagreement on details of discussions they have had recently regarding the track.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(9-28-2009)
Fair Park panel considers new Milwaukee Mile deal: The future of auto racing at the Milwaukee Mile got a little brighter on Monday. The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board's executive committee met in closed session Monday to discuss a proposed lease agreement with Historic Mile LLC, the latest group that wants to promote races at the historic racetrack. The proposed agreement, which the full Wisconsin State Fair Park Board is expected to consider next Monday, calls for a considerably smaller license fee than the previous two race promoters were asked to pay. Under the new agreement, Historic Mile will be asked to pay $180,000 a year for the first five years of the 10-year deal. Historic Mile also has the option of deferring up to $120,000 of the first year's fee and $60,000 of the second year's fee. By June 30, 2014, the fee for each of the remaining years of the initial term will be negotiated; the fee will not be less than $198,000. The proposed agreement with Historic Mile appears intended to give the new group as much help as possible to stage races at the track. In return, Historic Mile also agreed to pay for improvements that sanctioning bodies such as NASCAR and the Indy Racing League might require in the future. In anticipation of the new group reaching agreement with State Fair, NASCAR scheduled a June 18 Camping World Truck Series at the track, followed the next day by a Nationwide Series race. However, NASCAR and the IRL are collectively owed an estimated $2 million from previous unpaid sanction fees. Asked if his group had satisfied that debt, Machi said: "We made NASCAR happy." He declined to provide further details. Under the proposed deal, State Fair can terminate its agreement with Historic Mile if by Sept. 30 of each year it cannot get a contract and dates for NASCAR races. IRL has not scheduled a race at the track in 2010.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(9-22-2009)
Milwaukee Mile gets race date: The Milwaukee Mile doesn't actually have a racing promoter, or anyone selling tickets or soliciting sponsors for the 2010 season. Not yet, anyway. But here's what the troubled 106-year-old racetrack does have, as of Tuesday: a place on the NASCAR calendar. "We're very happy to see ourselves on there," said Tony Machi, a partner in a group trying to save the track."We're not going to get into our financials, but we're confident we'll have an acceptable plan and lease agreement for State Fair Park to consider at the end of this month." Historic Mile was given a Sept. 29 deadline to demonstrate to State Fair Park management it had the financial wherewithal to promote races and to secure race dates. That second condition was met Tuesday. The Mile holds June 18 on the Camping World Truck Series schedule and June 19 on the Nationwide Series schedule. Craig Barkelar, State Fair's interim executive director, said negotiations continue with Historic Mile and he is confident the group will meet the fiscal conditions. It remains unclear how the debts left by previous promoter Claude Napier would be paid. "All I can say is that our discussions with the promoter have gone very well and Milwaukee is currently on the 2010 schedule; like all other events on the schedule, there is a sanction in place," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said in an e-mail.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(9-17-2009)
Giuffre brothers show interest in Milwaukee Mile: With time running out for Historic Mile LLC to reach agreement with the State Fair Park Board to promote auto racing at the Milwaukee Mile, an unsuccessful suitor said he would like the chance. Frank Giuffre, who with his brother, Dominic, ran the track from 1983-'91, said Friday that his group is ready, willing and able to take over. As proof, he released letters from TCF Bank and Tri City National Bank that express support for setting up a $10 million credit facility in support of auto racing at the track. "I want to talk to the State Fair," Giuffre said. "But there has to be a process." Giuffre said he doubted Historic Mile LLC could meet the requirements necessary to come to a contract with State Fair Park. Historic Mile officials have until Sept. 29 to demonstrate they have an agreement for races and prove they have the ability to meet their financial obligations. One of the biggest issues affecting the future of the 106-year-old Mile is the debt run up by former promoter Claude Napier in 2009. Napier left owing NASCAR and the Indy Racing League an estimated $2 million. In a statement, Patrice Harris, a State Fair spokeswoman, said State Fair officials were still in negotiations with Historic Mile. Historic Mile consists of Tony Machi, a longtime sports-car racer and retired judge, and Jim Beaudoin, managing partner for a local investment firm, whose family owned an Indy-car team in the 1980s.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), the Milwaukee Mile is on NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series schedules in 2010.(9-16-2009)
Historic Mile LLC announced at Potenial Milwaukee Promoter: Principals representing Historic Mile LLC were revealed as the potential group promoting auto racing events at The Milwaukee Mile speedway. Historic Mile LLC was chosen last Thursday evening [July 30, 2009] by the Wisconsin State Fair Board during a special session. The following morning, Fair Board Chair Susan Crane and Interim Executive Director Craig Barkelar executed a Letter of Intent for a License Agreement with Historic Mile LLC principals Tony Machi, Jim Beaudoin and Steve Jones, area gentlemen passionate about motorsports and keeping the legend alive at The Milwaukee Mile. Jones most recently was General Manager & COO of The Milwaukee Mile in 2009. What is in place for the next 55-plus days is a Letter of Intent, which is not a promoter agreement, but does allow Historic Mile LLC to move forward exclusively to demonstrate it has sufficient financial resources available to fund operations at The Milwaukee Mile including sanction fees, license fees and overhead expenses.
Key to the ongoing process for Historic Mile LLC is securing NASCAR and Indy Racing League (IRL) events at The Milwaukee Mile.
The process of securing race dates and sanction agreements is ongoing. More will be made known as they are finalized.(Historic Mile LLC)(8-5-2009)
- Six promoters express interest in Milwaukee Mile: Six investor groups have expressed interest in taking over promotional rights for the historic Milwaukee Mile racetrack. NASCAR and the Indy Racing League are poised to post their 2010 schedules soon, creating a tight timeline to pull off a deal. Wisconsin State Fair Park interim executive director Craig Barkelar said Tuesday that the board has had "general discussions" with six groups and hopes to receive formal bids by Friday. The State Fair Park board voted Monday to end its partnership with promoter Wisconsin Motorsports, which is believed to owe NASCAR and the IRL several million dollars.(Associated Press)(7-22-2009)
- Milwaukee Mile race featuring Kenseth cancelled: The Aug. 29 Wisconsin All-Star 100 at the Milwaukee Mile has been cancelled, Steve Jones, the track's general manager said Wednesday. The third annual event was to feature Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth, a native of Cambridge, racing against some of the top drivers from around the region. Wisconsin Motorsports, which holds the contract to promote races at the track, owes money to NASCAR and the Indy Racing League for the race weekends they sanctioned earlier this season. Its staff was laid off and office closed last week.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-9-2009)
- Future of Milwaukee Mile in doubt: The Milwaukee Mile office is closed, and all 12 staff members have been laid off at least temporarily. Whether the oldest auto racing facility in the country lives to see its 107th birthday is in grave doubt even among its biggest boosters. "It depends totally if I'm able to get some investors," promoter Claude Napier said Thursday in a telephone interview from Texas. Napier, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin Motorsports, admitted to the Journal Sentinel for the first time that he had no other financial backers when he entered into a deal in February with State Fair Park, where the track is located. "I've got a hunch it's over," said Dominic Giuffre, a former promoter with his brother Frank. "It's too late." The Giuffres, promoters at the Mile from 1983-'91, have expressed interest in returning to that role. It is "very uncommon" for NASCAR to stage a race without being paid in advance by the promoter, said Ramsey Poston, a NASCAR spokesman. The races were already scheduled and television contracts in place when Napier took over. Given its dealings this year, NASCAR is not expected to grant credit to the track - no matter who operates it - to return for 2010.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-3-2009)
- NASCAR seeking payment from Milwaukee Mile: In documents obtained by the Journal Sentinel, NASCAR states that Wisconsin Motorsports, the race promoter at the Mile, owes it $1,878,228 for the two races NASCAR sanctioned earlier this month.
Wisconsin Motorsports recently hosted two major NASCAR events: a Camping World Truck Series race and a Nationwide Series race. Exact attendance numbers have not been made public but it was estimated that the truck race drew about 7,000 fans, and Claude Napier, the head of Wisconsin Motorsports, said the Nationwide Series race drew in excess of 35,000 fans. The documents include an agreement that Napier signed in which he states that he is unable to pay in full the fees due NASCAR for sanctioning the races. Napier did not respond to requests for comment. Late last week, Napier acknowledged that he owed money to NASCAR but declined to provide details. He also admitted, as the Legislative Audit Bureau reported in a recent audit of the Wisconsin State Fair, that the track would lose money this year. A NASCAR spokesman, asked for comment, said the letter "speaks for itself."(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-1-2009)
- Milwaukee Mile owes NASCAR money: The race promoter for the Milwaukee Mile owes NASCAR money stemming from the races last weekend, and the Indy Racing League won't say whether it has been paid yet for its event in May. The Mile hosted the Camping World Truck Series Copart 200 and the Nationwide Series NorthernTool.com 250 last Saturday. Claude Napier, head of Wisconsin Motorsports, did not disclose attendance numbers Friday but said the turnout for the truck race was low. As for the Nationwide Series race, Napier said it was in excess of 35,000 fans. Napier acknowledged that the track would lose money this year. The Legislative Audit Bureau, which recently completed an audit of Wisconsin State Fair Park, said in its report that the Mile would lose money this year, putting added fiscal pressure on the fair. "The sanctions fees are part of an overall deal," Napier said Friday. "We have been working closely with NASCAR in resolving these issues." Asked for details, Napier said: "I don't want to get into specifics about what we owe and what we don't owe. We are working very closely with NASCAR and in particular we are working on the future."
Ramsey Poston, a NASCAR spokesman, said in a statement that, "despite having a terrific day of NASCAR racing last Saturday there remain outstanding issues which concern NASCAR. As a matter of policy I won't get into the specifics of our business dealings. However, I can say we are working closely with the track management to resolve outstanding issues." The competitors were paid, according to a Charlotte Observer story.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(6-27-2009)
- Ticket Deals at The Milwaukee Mile: With great anticipation, Wisconsin’s biggest motorsports weekend is drawing near at The Milwaukee Mile. Top NASCAR teams are preparing to race in the Friday night, June 19 Copart 200 and the Saturday night, June 20 NorthernTool.com 250 at America’s Legendary Oval. To purchase Milwaukee Mile NASCAR tickets, visit the speedway’s website, www.milwaukeemile.com.(6-18-2009)
- Milwaukee Mile Makes NASCAR Track Pack Affordable: Wisconsin’s biggest motorsports weekend at The Milwaukee Mile can also claim to be Wisconsin’s best deal in motorsports in 2009. Fans can catch two thrilling days of NASCAR action at The Mile June 19 & 20 for as little as $29. Wisconsin standout Johnny Sauter returns Friday night, June 19 to compete against the tough drivers, tough trucks of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. NASCAR mega-star Kyle Busch and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Carl Edwards are scheduled to compete against all the stars of the NASCAR Nationwide Series at America’s Legendary Oval on Saturday, June 20. The two full days of on-track action begin with practice and qualifying sessions for each popular NASCAR division, culminating each evening with racing under the lights. Adding to the excitement at no additional cost to the fans, the rising open wheel talents of the Star Mazda Series will practice on Friday, then qualify and race on Saturday, June 20 in a 100-mile test of skill and endurance as a prelude to NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying. Starting at just $29, The Milwaukee Mile’s NASCAR Track Pack offers a ticket to both NASCAR Truck Series and Nationwide Series event days. For the first time, the NASCAR Track Pack is now available in all sections, including the premium blue seats (400 level) for just $129. The Milwaukee Mile NASCAR Track Pack is now available online 24/7 at www.milwaukeemile.com, and through The Milwaukee Mile ticket office by calling (414) 453-8277, Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(3-18-2009)
- Milwaukee Mile signs promoter: Wisconsin Motorsports, LLC has signed an agreement to retain promoter rights at The Milwaukee Mile motor speedway. The historic venue is located on the Wisconsin State Fair Park grounds in West Allis, Wis. and continues to be the oldest active auto racing facility in the country, dating back to 1903. In 2009, The Milwaukee Mile is set to hold the stars of the IndyCar Series the Sunday following the Indianapolis 500 on May 31, the popular NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events on June 19 & 20, and the return of Wisconsin NASCAR superstar and 2009 Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth in a special Wisconsin All-Star 100 super late model event on August 29. The new promoter agreement ensures the near-term and long-term future of auto racing at America’s Legendary Oval. All purchased tickets for 2009 events at The Milwaukee Mile will be honored. Wisconsin Motorsports is led by President & CEO Claude Napier, who has signed a new license agreement with the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board for an initial term of ten years, with the option of up to 30 years. The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board elected to terminate the promoter license agreement it held with former promoter Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC on February 12th, and worked diligently with Napier in the best interest of the continuance of auto racing going forward.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(2-20-2009)
- Wisconsin State Fair Park Board ends agreement with Milwaukee Mile: The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board of Directors has elected to terminate its agreement with Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC, the current operators of The Milwaukee Mile race track. In an effort to protect racing at the country's oldest operating race track, the Fair Park Board felt it best to terminate the agreement now. "The Fair Park Board has made every effort at reasonable negotiations with Milwaukee Mile Holdings," stated Susan Crane, chairwoman of the Fair Park Board of Directors. "The Board felt the time had arrived to take decisive action to ensure there is racing at The Mile this summer." The Fair Park Board is currently in the process of contracting with Wisconsin Motorsports, LLC. The Board expects a seamless transition because the new promoter has significant experience managing day-to-day track operations and race events. The new promoter expects to operate all the currently scheduled races during the upcoming season as well as some additional events. Through negotiations with the new promoter, the Fair Park Board has ensured that tickets already purchased by race fans for events at The Milwaukee Mile in 2009 will be honored by Wisconsin Motorsports, LLC. The Fair Park Board and Milwaukee Mile Holdings have been in negotiations for the past several months, and have continued talks since track operators provided notice in mid-December 2008 that they would cease operation of The Milwaukee Mile by December 2010.(Wisconsin State Fair Park PR)(2-13-2009)
- Potential Milwaukee Mile investors say no: Dominic and Frank Giuffre, brothers and former racing promoters, say they are going to take a pass on making a bid to take over racing at the Milwaukee Mile. Dominic Giuffre said he and his brother met with Wisconsin State Fair officials, but didn't like what they were hearing. "The feeling we were getting is that they wanted to have the same kind of deal they have with the present promoter," Dominic Giuffre said. Milwaukee Mile Holdings, the current promoter, have told fair officials they will exercise their option to get out of racing in December 2010. Milwaukee Mile Holdings had paid $700,000 last year in licensing fees, but was limited by the number of days it had access to the racetrack. "I don't think any group will make a bid," Dominic Giuffre said. Craig Barkelar, the fair's chief financial officer, has said there are two other entities interested in taking over racing. He declined to identify either.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(1-30-2009)
- Investor group pulling out of Milwaukee Mile: The future of motor sports at the Milwaukee Mile is in doubt after Wisconsin State Fair Park officials announced Tuesday [Dec 16th] that the investor group now promoting events at the track plans to get out of the business by December 2010. Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC is led by two Californians, Frank J. Andrews and David O. Stroud, but includes several prominent local investors, including local philanthropists Chris Abele and Dan Bader, Ulice Payne Jr., chairman of the Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corp., and auto dealer David Hobbs. The group had asked the board to reopen its licensing agreement because it was losing money. The board said no, prompting the group to exercise its right to opt out by December 2010.
Milwaukee Mile has said that, since taking over the historic racetrack in December 2005, it lost $2.1 million in 2006 and $1.5 million in 2007. This year it expects to lose $1.2 million. The group's latest proposal called for dropping the annual license fee, estimated at $700,000 this year, and for the right to develop a parcel near the Pettit National Ice Center. Milwaukee Mile officials said at least four races were still scheduled for next season, beginning with the Indycar Series from May 29-31. Evan Zeppos, a Milwaukee Mile spokesman, said, "While we have tendered our option to terminate, if the state were to come back to us, we would listen to them."(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(12-27-2008)
- State Fair Park Board hears Milwaukee Mile plan: Representatives of Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC, which wants to get out of the racing business at the historic track in return for a prized piece of real estate, told members of the State Fair Park Board meeting Monday that they need a decision sooner rather than later. Meeting in closed session, the board heard from Milwaukee Mile Holdings officials on their plan but made no decision, according to Susan Crane, the board's chair. She said she was not sure whether the board will make a decision to let Milwaukee Mile Holdings get out of racing, let a new promoter come in and give them rights to a 6-acre parcel along I-94 before the end of the year. Evan Zeppos, a spokesman for the group, said Milwaukee Mile Holdings needed an answer. "If the board chooses to string this along into next year, that's a prescription to end racing in Milwaukee," Zeppos said. Waiting in the wings is Dominic Giuffre, who with his brother, Frank, want to get back into motor sports at the Mile. The two were involved in racing at the Mile, though they had a rancorous relationship with the State Fair. Dominic Giuffre said Monday that John Menard, founder and chairman of Menards, and a motor sports mogul, would be part of the ownership group. Menard did not return a phone call seeking comment. The group says that since taking over the historic track in December 2005, they have lost $2.1 million in 2006 and $1.5 million in 2007. This year they expect to lose $1.2 million. This year, Milwaukee Mile Holdings and the board redid an existing operating agreement that lowered the group's annual payment to $700,000 this year, but it reduced the number of days they were allowed to market and stage motor sports events. The group says it has spent more than $5 million since it took over. In recent months, Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC asked for more concessions, but the board quickly signaled it was in no mood to enact a new agreement.
That led Milwaukee Mile Holdings to offer to give up its right to promote races at the track in return for the parcel along I-94. Milwaukee Mile then would develop the land and share profits with the fair.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-28-2008)
- Camping World CEO named to lead Milwaukee Mile: Less than two weeks after a state audit raised concerns about the Milwaukee Mile, racetrack investors on Tuesday named a new leader with motorsports experience to replace chairman Craig Stoehr. The new man is Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World/Freedom Roads. Based in Lincolnshire, Ill., Camping World is the nation's largest RV and outdoor retailer. Lemonis is a native of Miami, Fla., and is a graduate of Marquette University. He said he wanted to expand the speedway from a motorsports venue to an entertainment venue. He will retain his position at Camping World. Legislative Audit Bureau said State Fair Park will have to incur about $1.1 million annually in debt service payments beginning this year that were supposed to be covered by Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC when it took over as promoter in December 2005. Those costs were shifted back to the park in contract revisions that cut the amount the promoter had to pay in licensing fees. Stoehr and his investors took over the track in 2005 in return for an option to develop a hotel, restaurant and retail complex on land adjacent to the speedway. That development never materialized.(Journal Sentinel)(7-23-2008)
- Close the Milwaukee Mile? A co-chair of the state's Joint Legislative Audit Committee said it may be time for the state to abandon auto racing at State Fair Park and re-develop the Milwaukee Mile property after a report issued today found it continues to jeopardize the fair park's financial position. Rep. Suzanne Jeskewitz issued the statement in response to the Legislative Audit report, which says State Fair Park will pick up nearly $1.2 million in costs related to the Milwaukee Mile this year, most of that because of contract amendments that reduced how much racing promoter Craig Stoehr and Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC have to pay the park in licensing fees. "We cannot continue to amend this agreement to the detriment of the taxpayer, and the state has proven it cannot operate this racetrack itself," said Jeskewitz. "Perhaps it's time to determine if we need to cut our losses and redevelop the property."(Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)(7-12-2008)
- Milwaukee Mile in trouble? The latest deal intended to save the century-old Milwaukee Mile Speedway at State Fair Park puts more money in the hands of the real estate investors who signed on to rescue it, leaving the park with nearly $800,000 less a year to pay down its own $10 million deficit. But in return, it turns up the heat on Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC and Chairman Craig Stoehr to make good on their plans to build a hotel and restaurant complex that park officials hope will buoy their struggling Wisconsin Exposition Center. And it adds new protections for a group of Wisconsin investors who hold a minority stake in Stoehr's venture. Both sides touted the revised contract, approved this past week by the park's board of directors and the state Building Commission, as the best way to preserve racing at the storied track and generate new revenue for the park.
"This really puts us on solid footing going forward, not just for the race track, but it also lets us proceed on the development," said Stoehr, whose group lost $3.6 million since taking over the Mile in December 2005. "We think the changes will make them break even or make money in a year or two," said Craig Barkelar, the fair park's deputy director and chief financial officer. "We want the hotel and restaurant," and the changes are expected to help accomplish that, Barkelar said. With the new contract in hand, Stoehr backed away from a threat to sue the park board over allegations that it misrepresented the Mile's financials and saddled investors with an unsafe grandstand, in part because it lacks a sprinkler system. "I don't at all think the grandstand is unsafe," said Stoehr, who called charges he levied late last year "ancient history." Under the new contract, the park cut the Mile's licensing fee from about $1.8 million to $1 million a year over the next 16 years. The original fee was set to cover all of the debt service for the $21 million grandstand completed in 2003, about $1.8 million a year; the cut means the fair park will now pick up nearly $800,000 of that. Under the new contract, the Mile also would lease 6.4 acres of state land for its new development - rather than buy 9.4 acres. But it must exercise its lease option by Dec. 31, a year earlier than the original contract required. While the deal gives the promoters an easier out if they choose to bail - three years' notice instead of five if they exercise their development option - it also ensures local investors a cut of the development profits, not just those from the riskier Mile. "This improves the chances that they'll get their original investment back and some kind of return," Barkelar said of the local investors, about 30 people who ponied up "from $25,000 up to a couple hundred thousand," according to Stoehr. "For the majority of those people, it was to give back to the community," Barkelar said. Stoehr said he has lined up a racing theme restaurant and is in the process of submitting franchise applications with a hotel chain, both of which would be built on the southeast corner of the fairgrounds along W. Greenfield Ave. He said he expects to go to the city with a site plan within 60 days. Stoehr has made similar projections in the past. But West Allis Economic Development Director John Stibal said he expects the project to begin after this year's State Fair in August. "All the big obstacles have been removed," said Stibal, whose community has been trying to snag a hotel for W. Greenfield Ave. for years. "It sounds like we've finally got something." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(3-1-2008)
- Milwaukee Mile plans all-you-can-eat area: Borrowing an idea used successfully in other sports venues, the Milwaukee Mile plans to create an all-you-can-eat section at the track this season. The track's new "Club Four" will feature unlimited brats, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips as well as soft drinks and beer in an all-encompassing ticket package. The club will be located in the Turn Four Terrace on the northwest side of the track. The packages will range from $40 for the Wisconsin All-Star 100 to $65 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series. IndyCar Series events will be $50 each. The Milwaukee Brewers offer a version of an all-you-can-eat section with the Dew Deck and the Mercedes-Benz Field Haus. But those sections are sold in groups. Club Four will be available for individual and group sales.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(1-9-2008)
- Milwaukee Mile Installs SAFER Barriers: The Milwaukee Mile has taken another step in the direction of recent safety and facility improvements, with the installation of the SAFER Barrier System, an energy-dissipating system that has been fastened to the speedway’s existing concrete wall.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(3-22-2006)
- Milwaukee gets SAFER: The Milwaukee Mile will have the SAFER "soft-wall" system in place by the end of April, if weather conditions are favorable to construction, a track spokesman said.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(2-3-2006)
- New Milwaukee Mile Promoter: Wisconsin State Fair Park today announced that is has entered into an agreement with Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC – an organization led by metro Milwaukee native and international sports marketing and real estate investment executive Craig Stoehr and Andrew Randall, former President of U.S. Bank in Wisconsin – as the new promoter of the Milwaukee Mile motor speedway. Greenberg and Stoehr signed the agreement today before a crowd of supporters, sponsors, investors and others at a special ceremony at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Exposition Center. Under the terms of the agreement, Milwaukee Mile Holdings has acquired the promotional rights at The Mile for 18 years, and will make annual payments to the State Fair Park of approximately $1.8 million per year. Milwaukee Mile Holdings has also been granted an option to acquire 9.35 acres of state-owned land adjacent to The Mile along Greenfield Avenue in exchange for enabling the State Fair Park to acquire a private parcel of land located within the Park grounds and making of certain improvements, including the expansion of gates and entrances. Preliminary plans for the 9.35-acre site include a hotel and retail complex, and potentially commercial and residential space. In addition, Milwaukee Mile Holdings announced that former NFL player and Green Bay Packers star defensive lineman Gilbert Brown is an investor in the company, and will join The Mile staff as the Director of New Business Development, where he will focus on new business initiatives and various community-related activities. Randall, as incoming President & CEO of the historic speedway, will oversee all day-to-day activities. He is a 30-year veteran of the financial services industry and a passionate sports fan who led U.S. Bank’s sponsorship of The Mile’s Champ Car World Series race, Miller Park and the Milwaukee Brewers, and the PGA’s Greater Milwaukee Open. There will be no ticket price increases for 2006. Full event and ticket information is available on the speedway’s website located at www.milwaukeemile.com.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(12-21-2005)
- Kart Races at the Milwaukee Mile: The best kart racers in the Midwest will compete this weekend in the championship rounds of the 1st Annual Burris National Championship Indoor Racing Series, inside the Wisconsin Products Pavilion, located behind the turn four grandstands of The Milwaukee Mile. Both New Years Day and Sunday's events will offer a complete race program. Drivers from Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois will be competing in 18 classes, sanctioned by The International Racing Association, including Local Option classes.(more info at milwaukeemile.com)(12-30-2004)
- NASCAR Tickets Now $5 At www.milwaukeemile.com: The Milwaukee Mile is offering family-friendly prices for race tickets to each of the speedway's four race weekends purchased exclusively through the speedway's improved web site, www.milwaukeemile.com. For example, reserved seats to the Friday night, June 25 "Black Cat(r) Fireworks 200" NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series are now priced at just $5 in north and south terrace bleacher seating, a 44% savings. All discounts apply to on-line ticket sales only, and are limited to seating capacity in specific sections within the grandstand and north and south terrace bleacher seating. These savings do not apply to tickets purchased through the racetrack's box office or phone sales. Season tickets to all event weekends start at an economical $99, with discounts offered to group ticket buyers. Race fans can obtain the same seats for all six days of Champ Car and IRL races through an Open Wheel partial-season ticket package, with a similar plan offered for NASCAR-ASA stock car race weekends. Purchases through www.milwaukeemile.com are for individual race day tickets only. Money-saving season ticket packages, partial season ticket packages, and pit & paddock pass transactions must still be conducted through The Milwaukee Mile ticket office in person or by calling (414) 453-8277. To view all Mile ticket plans, including fan hospitality packages, visit www.milwaukeemile.com.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(3-26-2004)
- Milwaukee Gets OK: The Milwaukee Mile says the Wisconsin State Building Commission has given approval for $1.4 million worth of improvements before this year's racing season. The work is scheduled to include a new critical care building; a new concrete pit wall; new paving for the hot pit working area; extension of the safety fencing in front of the grandstand seating to 18 feet; installation of a 5-foot chain link fence to separate the hot pit road from the paddock area; construction of a permanent media center; and the purchase and installation of a new electronic leader board. The historic track is scheduled to host the Craftsman Truck Series on June 25 and the Busch Series on June 26..(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-24-2004)
- Milwaukee to Light 'em up: NASCAR will follow in CART's tracks and run nighttime races at the Milwaukee Mile next year. Boosted by positive reaction last May to the first nighttime race in CART Champ Car history, the venerable track has shifted the timing on its NASCAR weekend, as well, taking both Craftsman Truck Series and Busch Series races under the lights in 2004. After months of discussion between Mile and NASCAR officials, the move became official Tuesday at a board of directors meeting for the State Fair Park, which owns the facility. The 200-mile NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race is now set for Friday, June 25, and the 250-mile Busch Series event for Saturday, June 26. The Mile had contemplated racing the trucks at night in the past as a way to boost attendance for that division. Discussions with NASCAR led to taking both races under the lights. CART rented the lights last season at a cost estimated at nearly $500,000. The Mile will pay Musco Lighting for its NASCAR weekend. Customers have already received ticket information with the old, afternoon race dates for NASCAR and will be provided updates soon. Also, the Mile plans to hold a meeting for neighbors to deal with questions and concerns about nighttime racing. In the 10 years since NASCAR returned to the Mile, the race weekend has at times coincided with the Winston Cup Series' Pepsi 400, a popular Saturday night race in Daytona Beach, FL. That won't happen in 2004 - Nextel Cup is in Sonoma, CA. Other race weekends on the Mile schedule next season, in addition to CART and NASCAR, are the Indy Racing League July 23-25 and American Speed Association Aug. 27-29.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(12-10-2003)
- a look at the new Milwaukee Mile grandstands: the Milwaukee Mile is getting a refurb with new stands, looks nice.. The new grandstand will be ready for the CART race in early June. The top row will be 85 feet high. Unlike the old grandstand, the new
one will not be covered:
image taken by Don Kayser
- Milwaukee Mile Changes: Jim Melvin, the general manager of the Milwaukee Mile for more than 10 years, has been dismissed, promoter Carl Haas said Thursday. Haas would not say when the decision was made, did not name a replacement and declined to comment on nearly all aspects of day-to-day operations at the track, one of the many racing-related businesses operated by the 72-year-old Illinois entrepreneur. Melvin declined comment Thursday night. Melvin's dismissal follows a spate of bad news surrounding State Fair Park. The facility, in the midst of a $160 million renovation, is projected to lose $850,000 for its fiscal year, not including a $2.3 million assessment levied by the state to help close its own budget shortfall. The renovation project includes $20.5 million to rebuild the racetrack bleachers and grandstand in time for the 2003 season. Nearly all seasonal workers have been laid off, and park management has been given the go-ahead to eliminate the positions of five full-time employees in a cost-saving measure. Among the reasons cited for the budget problems is that the Milwaukee Mile is expected to provide only about one-half of the projected $1.8 million, the park's share in racing revenue for the 2002 season. Melvin, a longtime motorsports marketing executive and the first president of CART, had served as general manager since Haas obtained the racing promotions rights at State Fair in a complex transaction before the 1992 season. During his tenure, Melvin oversaw the return of the NASCAR Busch Series to the track in 1993 after a seven-year hiatus. The Mile added the Craftsman Truck Series in its first season, 1995, and since then the NASCAR weekend has surpassed CART in terms of total attendance.(more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(1-10-2003)
- Lights at Milwaukee? A decision is expected in the next couple of weeks on whether the Milwaukee Mile will play host to the first nighttime race in CART history. The plan cleared one hurdle Thursday, when the track's West Allis neighbors were briefed on the idea, and it faces another today, when the State Fair Park board of directors takes up the matter at its monthly meeting. Ultimately, though, the deciding factor is likely to be money, Jim Melvin, general manager for the Mile, said Monday. The one possible sticking point, though, is the cost of renting suitable lights, about $400,000, an expenditure Melvin said CART would have to cover. CART is scheduled to race at the Mile on the weekend of May 30, the seventh of 20 races. If it were to be held at night, the race would be scheduled for Saturday rather than Sunday. The other racing scheduled for the facility is a three-day NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Busch Series program set for the last weekend in June. Mile management had hoped to add an event or two, especially because the racetrack will celebrate its centennial anniversary next season. Discussions with the Indy Racing League were unsuccessful. The issue of a possible night race at the track is on the agenda for a Fair board meeting set to begin at 9:30 a.m. today at the Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center.(See more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-12-2002)
- Milwaukee's stands come down: The grandstand at the Milwaukee Mile was imploded this week, triggered by old-time racer Frank Burany. After a few failed attempts, the explosions fired in rapid succession from Section R to Section A, dropping rotted wood, ancient shingles and smelly, green indoor-outdoor carpeting as designed. The new grandstand will be twice the height and far better sight lines than its predecessor. For a time, both cleanup of the demolition mess and the construction of the new grandstand will be under way simultaneously as crews work on the project in sections from south (Turn 1) to north. All concrete is expected to be poured this fall, and the prefabricated aluminum structure will then snap into place much like an erector set.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(9-20-2002)
- Milwaukee Improves: In a letter dated Saturday and mailed Monday to current ticket-holders, the Mile promised to have 20,000 new, permanent bleacher seats in place for the coming season of racing at State Fair Park. According to the letter, the 67-year-old main grandstand will remain in place for one more season but will be replaced the following year. That would coincide with the track's 100th anniversary. For the second consecutive year, ticket prices have not been raised.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(12-18-2001)
- New Milwaukee Sponsor: General Nutrition Centers (GNC Live Well) announced it has signed a three-year contract to be the title sponsor of the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at The Milwaukee Mile starting this June when the BGN and CTS races will run there(Keystone Marketing PR)(5-24-2001)
- Milwaukee Mile News: The midway and main entrance to Milwaukee State Fair Park(where the Milwaukee Mile racetrack is located) in West Allis would face I-94 under renovation plans the State Fair Board approved unanimously Wednesday. Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson further encouraged plans to upgrade the 107-year-old park in his "state of the state" address, outlining his vision for "the largest renovation since its inception." Thompson said the 200-acre fairgrounds' three-phase renovation would eventually include a new racetrack, a "marketplace" with restaurants and shops, and an exposition hall(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(1-30-2000)
- Too Loud: The screech of race cars at the Milwaukee Mile has some neighbors so on edge and irate that Mayor Jeannette Bell said she will demand changes be made in how the State Fair Park Board negotiates its racing contract. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(5-27-1999)