When New Hampshire Motor Speedway plays host to stock cars, trucks, modifieds and motorcycles this season, a hot topic of conversation among competitors will be the $5 million challenge presented by INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard.
The premise is simple enough: Qualify for the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships race on Oct. 14 and win the 200-lap race two days later while taking on the best-of-the-best on the 1.5-mile, variably-banked Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval and receive a $5 million check.
“We showcase our drivers as being the very best, fastest and most versatile in the world,” said Bernard, “and we are putting our money where our mouth is. If any race car driver in the world outside of the IZOD IndyCar Series can win the Vegas race, we will give you $5 million. There are a lot of drivers that talk about wanting to race in INDYCAR. We believe that the skill set it takes and just the toughness and willpower to get behind the wheel of these cars is pretty amazing.
“We’re reaching out to a variety of people to make sure we can build a schedule that does its best to accommodate drivers from all different forms of racing over the three days we are on track at Las Vegas. We are taking everything into consideration to make sure that if these drivers want to participate we can make it happen."
Five drivers from all submissions will be approved to compete for the prize by a selection committee consisting of Bernard, INDYCAR president of competition and operations Brian Barnhart, INDYCAR commercial division president Terry Angstadt, three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Johnny Rutherford, and two-time Indianapolis 500 champion and current IZOD IndyCar Series driver coach Al Unser Jr.
"We are going to provide ample testing time at Las Vegas for the five selected drivers to make sure by the time they get to Las Vegas they are up to speed,” Bernard added.
The committee is finalizing the criteria for eligibility, which will be released at a later date.
The IZOD IndyCar Series champion will be crowned following the Oct. 16 race – the 18th and final of the season. The past five driver championship battles have gone down to the season finale, and the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Aug. 14 will play an important role in the championship duel.