POLITICS

NASCAR event at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve gets government funding

07/11/2012 04:11 EDT | Updated 09/10/2012 05:12 EDT
MONTRÉAL - The annual NASCAR Nationwide series event at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve got a financial boost from three levels of government on Wednesday.

The governments of Canada, Quebec and the City of Montreal announced Wednesday they will pump $800,000 into the NAPA Auto Parts 200 scheduled for Aug. 16-18.

The Canadian government and Quebec's tourism ministry will each contribute $300,00 while the municipality and its tourism arm will each put in $100,000. The province has agreed to funding for three years while Ottawa and the city are considering extending their funding beyond this year.

The money is to be used to promote the race outside the city to attract visitors.

A request for funding was turned down a year ago by Quebec tourism minister Nicole Menard, who felt race promoter Octane Management had not fully demonstrated the event's economic benefits.

A second request was accepted.

Race organizers had expressed concern for the event's future if promotional funding was not found.

Charles Lapointe, president of Tourism Montreal, said that even if the NASCAR race pales in importance to the annual Canadian Grand Prix Formula One event, it boosts the city's international reputation in motor sports.

He said it also helps to be able to use the track for a second event each summer.

It is the only race on either of NASCAR's top two series, Sprint Cup and Nationwide, that is held in Canada.