Denver Grand Prix may not be back

Updated: January 18, 2007, 11:04 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Lack of a promoter, title sponsor and competing Champ Car events around the time of the Grand Prix of Denver have organizers concerned that the event may not happen this year.

Champ Car World Series president Steve Johnson said Wednesday that there are a number of challenges organizers must solve to save the annual street race that's been at the Pepsi Center the past three years.

"We want to be in Denver," Johnson said. "It would be unfortunate if we have to postpone the event."

The Denver event this year will be competing with other Champ Car races this summer. One race has been scheduled in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Aug. 12 -- a week before the Denver Grand Prix. Two European expansion races have also been added for Sept. 2 and Sept. 9.

Local promoter Bob Sutton, then-CEO of Centrix Financial, had pulled out before last year's race because of business problems. Centrix also withdrew as title sponsor.

Champ Car went on to promote the Grand Prix by itself, but it's not likely the sanctioning body will be doing that again.

Champ Car official are also trying to find a new date for 2008. The event was bumped from its 2008 August weekend because the center will be preparing for the Democratic National Convention. The race would likely have to be moved to earlier in the summer.

"It doesn't give us much flexibility from a date standpoint," Johnson said. "Dealing with the folks at the Pepsi Center, with all the things they have going on, you have to be flexible."

Pepsi Center spokesman Brian Kitts said it would hate to lose the Grand Prix and is willing to work with race organizers, but finding a date won't be easy.

"The Grand Prix is the biggest event that we ever have done," Kitts said. "It has so many moving parts, it will always be the biggest thing that we do. So it would be difficult to just slide it in and out."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press