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Race Nixed For Lack Of Money

The Hawaiian Super Prix, intended to be the richest auto race in history with a $10 million purse, was canceled Tuesday after organizers failed to come up with enough money.

The CART Indy-car event was scheduled for Nov. 13 at Kalaeloa Airport, formerly Barbers Point Naval Air Station, with the winner receiving $5 million. Qualifying sessions were to be held Nov. 11-12.

The top 12 CART circuit drivers and four other drivers were to compete.

Tuesday was the deadline for organizers to deposit the prize money. A $5 million surety bond was issued to CART by Frontier Insurance Co. of Nashville in February.

But Super Prix organizers could not raise the other $5 million in prize money or more money to cover operating costs.

"We are disappointed to have to make this announcement," Andrew Craig, chairman and chief executive officer of CART, said from Detroit. "However, the Hawaiian Super Prix has been unable to secure the necessary funding to make the required payment of the purse and other fees to CART."

Just last week, the New Hampshire investment bank financing the race acknowledged it would lose money but vowed to hold the event, anyway.

John Halle, president of CNB Capital, didn't return a telephone message left Tuesday.

When the race was announced in February, organizers expected 100,000 spectators and a pay-per-view television audience of 300 million.

They also said they would stage the event every year for the next decade, although the contract with CART was only for three years.

"I know it's going to come off just fine. We've done our homework," Richard Rutherford, co-founder of Hawaiian Super Prix, said at the time.

Retired driving great Mario Andretti came to Hawaii to promote the event.

But the race was hampered by lack of a title sponsor, slow ticket sales and a television deal that went from pay-per-view to network to Speedvision cable.

Promoters tried unsuccessfully to secure a $15 million loan to pay for the race.

"Many of our staff, supporters and sponsors put their reputations on the line for the Super Prix and I am very sorry this had to happen," said Phil Heard, the race's chief operating officer and general manager.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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