AVONDALE, AZ – As the Verizon IndyCar Series takes on the Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona this weekend, team owner Michael Andretti is hoping that a loss in Avondale of a totally different state doesn’t carry over.
Andretti, was suing the NOLA Motorsports Park racetrack, its owner, Laney Chouest and an affiliated nonprofit group following a disastrous inaugural event at the track last April.
Per a New Orleans newspaper though, the lawsuit was dismissed on Tuesday afternoon, as Andretti has now officially lost a ton of money, after the failed one-year attempt at a race near New Orleans last year.
U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown signed an order Tuesday dismissing the lawsuit this past week, at the request of both sides, who earlier had notified the judge that they had “effected an amicable resolution of all claims at issue” in their dispute over the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana race held in April 2015.
Andretti, who has since gotten rid his marketing company Andretti Sports Marketing, to John Lopes and Starke Taylor by virtue of another lawsuit, had to settle with the opposing sides in this case as well to just get whatever compensation he could get at this point and move on.
The reason for Andretti to take this matter to the courts as that he claimed NOLA Motorsports had created a nonprofit to receive $4.5 million in tourism grant money from Louisiana for various purposes including improvements at the track.
However, Andretti said that the track used more of the grant money on upgrades than it had said it would, leaving nothing left to be paid to Andretti’s marketing group or other vendors.
ASM signed a three-year deal to organize the event beginning with the 2015 race. The agreement said that only $2.6 million of the grant money would be used on track upgrades, leaving enough money to pay Andretti Sports Marketing for its services after.
That number ended up being $3.4 million, leaving ASM without full payment. The company says they are still owed $645,000 by track officials, which does not include future payment for organizing the 2016 and 2017 events which obviously are now not happening as the race was left off of this year’s schedule.
Chouest’s defense though, was they didn’t owe Andretti anything, and that his financial success in the race depended on selling lots of tickets, which they said did not happen because the organizer was “inept.”
Chouest said they planned on having a crowd in excess of 80,000 spectators last year, but due to a rainy weekend, less than 10,000 actually showed up.
They argued that Andretti’s lawsuit targeted Chouest and the $75 million racetrack he opened in 2012 in a desperate effort to make money back from “a local deep pocket.”
This week, they decided to settle up with some sort of compensation as neither side would comment on what that was.