There won't be any Arena Racing in Charlotte this season.
Ricky Dennis, the founder and chief executive officer of Arena Racing USA, said that Charlotte remains "an important city" for the indoor racing league, but that he's still looking for the right person or group to own and operate the local franchise.
The league is competing in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and in Grand Rapids, Mich., this season. The start of the 2008-09 schedule in Charlotte was originally set for November, but was then pushed back until after the first of the year at least before the call finally came to remain dark this season.
"I've always heard it said that if you like the way you're doing things, then keep doing them the same way," Dennis said. "We're talking to a couple of people and we talked to some of our teams down there, and they agreed it would be better to take our time and get the right people in place."
Dennis said part of the evolution has been the realization that what is learned by other minor-league sports franchises applies to the concept of indoor racing, too.
A weekly racing series track, he said, schedules races for a particular night each week and hopes the weather cooperates so people will come out on that given night and buy a ticket. Minor-league baseball and hockey franchises, on the other hand, put greater efforts into season tickets or other ticket packages as well as group sales to even out the weekly ups and downs of attendance.
"We want to reopen down there in the fall of 2009," Dennis said of Charlotte. "So now is the time to get started. It is our desire to discuss right away this auto racing/entertainment business opportunity to anyone interested in a ground-floor opportunity."
If you want to learn more about Arena Racing USA, visit the website at www.ArenaRacingUSA.com.