Fairground race talks inch alongBy BILL VARIAN
© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 29, 2001
TAMPA -- The Florida State Fair Authority voted Wednesday to continue talks with promoters aiming to bring elite auto racing to Hillsborough County, despite learning that another group is pitching a similar event for downtown St. Petersburg.
But the executive director of the fairgrounds said the authority remains far apart on some of the proposed contract terms with Alabama-based International Racing Associates.
"I think what we're saying is we only want a race if we can get the terms we want," said Rick Vymlatil, executive director of the Florida State Fair Authority. "We don't know if we can come to terms."
The vote came two days after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker announced an agreement in principle with another group promoting a race downtown. With approval, both groups would then seek sanctioning from Championship Auto Racing Teams, or CART, for an early 2003 date in the FedEx Championship Series.
International Racing Associates of Birmingham, Ala., first approached the Fair Authority in March about holding a three-day event at the fairgrounds in April 2003. But the two sides have disagreed on everything from rent to who gets how much of a cut from concessions and sponsorships.
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