IndyCar race should provide economic boost for St. Charles
Expected to draw 80,000 to nearby Avondale
By Jonathan Menard - May 22, 2014
An IndyCar race that will be held at Avondale’s NOLA Motorsports Park sometime next year is expected to draw 80,000 spectators and provide an economic boost for nearby St. Charles Parish.
The event would combine a three-day festival featuring Louisiana’s culture with the Verizon IndyCar Series event.
The race would ideally take place on a Sunday with practice sessions and time trials held on Friday and Saturday. The festival will include music, entertainment and food.
The exact date for the race, which will be known as the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, will be announced later this year. The event will be televised around the world.
Corey Faucheux, the director of Economic Development and Tourism for St. Charles Parish, said the event is being described as a destination for motorsports enthusiasts.
“This means that just like with Jazz Fest, which lures visitors worldwide, the NOLA Motorsports IndyCar event will lure enthusiasts from the U.S. and abroad,” he said. “It is my understanding that there isn’t a raceway in the U.S. that is closer to a large city downtown area than the Avondale facility is to New Orleans. That is the primary reason why everyone is so optimistic about the event’s success.”
That success should spill over into St. Charles Parish.
“With so many out of town travelers driving and flying into the area, it is reasonable to expect event attendees to visit local travel-related businesses like hotels, restaurants and fuel suppliers,” Faucheux said. “I don’t foresee a big spike in job opportunities, however my opinion may change as more details of the events are revealed.”
NOLA Motorsports was built in 2011 for $60 million. The facility features a 2.75-mile road course that has already hosted several major races.
The state, upon approval by the legislature, will commit a one-time payment of $4.5 million to NOLA Motorsports to be used for facility and track improvements. Proposed track changes for the IndyCar race include a new pit entrance and a wider, longer pit lane. The park will also add perimeter fencing and enhance the straightaway.
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