MIAMI (CMC): Four new venues have been added to the roster for next July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, the confederation announced yesterday. The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas; the FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio; Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California; and Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee will be among 14 venues which will play host to the July 7-26 continental championship staged exclusively in the United States. In 2015, preliminary-round matches were staged in Toronto. “We’re excited to bring the Gold Cup to new markets across the country. These cities have all proved ready and eager to host our region’s marquee soccer championship, and welcome world-class international soccer next summer,” said CONCACAF General Secretary Philippe Moggio. “With matches also set for some of our more popular venues over the years, such as Dallas, Los Angeles and New York, next year’s Gold Cup will highlight the top-tier sporting status of international soccer across the nation.” The Alamodome, the FirstEnergy Stadium and Nissan Stadium will also feature preliminary-round games, while Levi’s Stadium will be one of five venues to stage knockout games. Jamaica, the 2015 finalists, along with CuraÁao, French Guiana and Martinique are the Caribbean teams which have so far secured qualification for the Gold Cup. Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Haiti will contest a play-off next month for a chance to secure another berth at the showpiece. Canada, Mexico and the United States automatically qualify, with the four top finishers from next month’s UNCAF Central American Cup wrapping up the remaining places at the 12-nation championship.
While Long Beach evidently is gaining a date, it also appears California Speedway will lose the series in 2006. Both the Grand Am Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup have been part of the Fontana racing schedule since 2003. Nate Siebens, a Grand-Am spokesman, would neither confirm or deny the Long Beach date. However, he did say talks between the sanctioning body and the speedway, owned by International Speedway Corp., are ongoing. Jim France, a member of the Grand Am leadership, also is a member of the ISC board. “There is a continuing dialogue with California Speedway for an event in 2006,” Siebens said Monday night. “We are not necessarily looking to replace the California Speedway event with another event. “We are not ruling out Fontana as a potential venue for 2006 at this point. There will be more information (in) Wednesday’s (announcement).” The departure of the series from Fontana resulted from a clash in marketing strategies. While speedway officials viewed the Grand American weekend as a stand-alone event, the direction of the sanctioning body was to be a companion event. “We can only speak for California Speedway,” spokesman Dennis Bickmeier said. “We don’t have a sanction agreement for 2006, but we are keeping our options open. “As recently as the last two weeks, our president (Zucker) has had discussions about strategies going forward. It’s our understanding that Grand Am wants to be a companion event, they have had much success with NASCAR and their drivers coming over. “We don’t have a companion event for Grand Am to run with at California Speedway.” Grand Am has shared the track with NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series three times this year, twice at Daytona and once at Watkins Glen, both ISC-owned venues. In 2002, Grand Am was a companion to the inaugural Indy Racing League event at Fontana. “We have enjoyed great Grand Am racing at Fontana,” Bickmeier said. It would be the first time such cars have appeared at a street race. The Grand Am race likely would run its Rolex Cup Series race the Saturday of race weekend, a day before the LBGP’s headline event the Champ Car World Series takes to the track, one source said. Grand-Am likely would bring its Rolex Series Daytona Prototype category to Long Beach, a class that features rounded, futuristic-looking chassis. The likes of Lexus, Pontiac, BMW, Porsche and Ford compete in the series as do some names familiar to area race fans. Scott Pruett who raced Champ Cars at the LBGP nine times and finished as high as second races alongside other former Champ Car competitors Max Papis and Christian Fittipaldi in the series. Alex Gurney, the son of LBPG co-founder and racing legend Dan Gurney, also competes. The series typically runs about 20 cars. The arrival of Grand-Am may not bring the departure of Trans-Am, a sports car series that has run regularly at the LBGP. Paul Gentilozzi, who owns the rights to the series, has indicated he expects Trans-Am to be back. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The 2006 LBGP is set for April 7-9. Jim Michaelian, the CEO of the Grand Prix Association, declined comment. California Speedway president Gillian Zucker was unavailable for comment. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 The Grand American Series the road racing circuit owned by members of NASCAR’s France family is apparently leaving California Speedway and heading to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach lineup. A news conference is scheduled for Wednesday when series and Long Beach race officials are expected to announce the deal that will bring the cars featured in the 24 Hours of Daytona to the streets of Long Beach, sources with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed.