Tom Pennington - Getty Images for NASCAR
One of NASCAR's most popular Nationwide Series races is no more, as the sanctioning body confirmed on Friday the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course in Montreal will not be included on the 2013 schedule.
The group responsible for promoting the race said the stumbling block was NASCAR's refusal to grant the track a Sprint Cup Series race.
According to a statement from track promoter François Dumontier, the annual Nationwide event was unprofitable and the only way for the company to turn a profit was by obtaining a Cup race – a request which NASCAR said was "impossible" to grant.
"I must admit that NASCAR's final answer is extremely disappointing," Dumontier said. "We can understand how difficult it could be to modify the Sprint Cup schedule, but we still believe that we deserved higher consideration. Especially since we have often been told that the annual Montreal event was very important to NASCAR.
"We remain convinced that the presence of the Sprint Cup at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve would have brought a much larger crowd, as our track usually generates a spectacular race and with its anticipated success would have offered a larger recognition at the international level to the series and to NASCAR."
The dire financial state of Dumontier's promotion company (Octane) and the reason why NASCAR will no longer be racing on the popular road course was made clearer in a Montreal Gazette story, which reported Octane is $5.4 million in debt according to bankruptcy filings.
Regardless of the reasoning behind the decision, the removal of Montreal will not be a popular one with fans.
This marks the second straight year a popular track has been removed from the Nationwide schedule. A year ago, NASCAR announced the race at Lucas Oil Raceway – a mainstay on the schedule since the series' inception in 1982 –was being moved across town to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
As for Montreal, since first hosting a NASCAR race in 2007, the track has consistently featured tremendous racing with many a memorable moment – including this past August when on the final lap, Justin Allgaier used his bumper to move native Canadian Jacques Villeneuve out of the lead.
NASCAR has not yet announced a replacement track for Montreal on next year's schedule.