Ok, here is part two of my dream, Formula INDYCAR schedule. Here is the first half of the schedule.
- Toronto, Canada Exhibition place street event – Canada has more recent, but very close ties with indycar racing. Our friends to the north are as rabid fans as you will find stateside. With continuous racing since 1986 and having a strong following, this race is a keeper.
- Quebec City, Canada Old City Quebec street event –Edmonton gets axed to add, what could be, another very glamorous location. Using the backdrop of early 1600’s architecture, the circuit could become the Monaco of the Americas. There was a promotion group who were talking with the series a few years ago to bring INDYCAR to Quebec, so the thought is already out there.
- Portland International Raceway – Another track lost to unification, a return to Portland could give the northwest their world class event back. Ran since 1984 and dropped in 2008, the Grand Prix of Portland was a well received event when it was run and a homecoming to the northwest would be welcome.
- New Hampshire Motor Speedway – With the exception on Indianapolis, indycar’s oval history is entrenched in short track racing. These short tracks are as close to good ‘ol dirt track racing as we will ever see in the modern era of the sport. Although Loudon is a track with almost no open wheel history to speak of, short and unique ovals are in low supply and any that can be had, must be taken advantage of.
- Road America – The fastest, meanest road course in North America needs to have the fastest meanest cars racing on it. Another track with deep history in the sport, Road America has to be on the schedule. The event at the Mile only a few weeks before does bring sustainability issues, but it seems enough people have been voicing the desire to return to make it a successful weekend.
- Watkins Glen International – Not much needs to be said about the Glen other than the series is sorely missed by the locals. This is yet another example of F1 igniting the love for open wheel racing, creating history at a track, leaving, and indycars coming in behind and put on an even more exciting show.
- Chicagoland Speedway – This is the house that INDYCAR build and was pushed out of by politics. Designed with the help of IMS, Chicagoland was birthed to race indycars. Period. A track that has created some of the closest finishes in indycar racing’s history, and the closes finish in motor sports ever. (Logan Gomez beat Alex Lloyd to the line by 0.0005 seconds in 07, if anyone is playing at home) It is a shame this one needs to be on a wish list.
- Michigan International Speedway – The final 500 mile race to complete the triple-crown of indycar. I am not necessarily saying we need another Marlboro Million, but three 500 mile races would really separate the field. Just as in Indianapolis where cunning and skill bubble to the top in the closing segments of the race, we could have a real barometer of the true endurance of the teams and drivers.
- Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – The Andretti hairpin… Zanardi in the corkscrew… Mario’s last race… sports car and open wheel history…
- Road Atlanta – The final road course, and it a heavy hitter. Road Atlanta is the final classic American road course. Some would say that this track is more demanding than Road America, but not quite. Holding the Petite Le Mans every year brings the world’s eye for the second time in the season to American road racing. Held in early October, INDYCAR could once again hold a support race for the ALMS during Petit Le Mans.
- Texas Motor Speedway –A trip to Texas for the 2-step marks the final leg to the season and a return to oval insanity that no other form of motorsports can touch. Indycar racing has had an on again, off again love affair with the duel style of racing. I like the idea, and like paying half points per race even more. This type of event gives an old school feel to the weekend.
- Iowa Speedway – The final short oval on the schedule. The newest big time oval to be constructed in the US. No concrete walls, only SAFER barriers and outriggers, 7/8 of a mile long and drives like a superspeedway. Designed by Rusty Wallace for NASCAR, Iowa has become another favorite annual stop for the series and fans alike. I LOVE watching the race at Iowa every year.
- Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Close the season in Sin City. Bring the glitz and glamour of Long Beach with, and throw one gigantic party. It seems that this is the direction Randy it trying to go this year with the race in Vegas. With high banks and high speeds to keep the adrenaline rush that is open wheel racing at fast ovals, Vegas will be a great way to end another exciting year of indycar racing.
There it is, 22 races, 11 ovals and 11 twisties. My only complaint is that there are not enough races in Canada. Vancouver got passed in favor of Portland, because the city of Vancouver seems to have despised the race. Canada absolutely deserves a third race, possibly a flat oval at Vancouver International? That idea has been kicked around in Cleveland, to have a double header weekend with a street event on Saturday and an oval event on Sunday. That weekend schedule could definitely be added to the calendar and keep the balance. Phoenix was another tough one to leave off. It has the provenance, received a huge upgrade last year and it another oval with a unique configuration… but there was no room for it. (Ed: Add the race in Vancouver and make it equal!)
While writing this I realized how hard it is to create a schedule that is physically possible. Time of year, weather and location all play a large role in how the season is put together. You can’t go to Canada in October, it just won’t work, but you also don’t want to go to Vegas in July. And this is just on paper; you would then have to actually make all 22 races happen at all the facilities. Changes would have to be made at many tracks, road and street events needing the most help with safety. A schedule like this would be an extreme undertaking, but incredible to see. American open wheel racing would be taking its rightful place in the world of international motorsports. Push Formula 1 back across the pond, because you know INDYCAR will be racing at Circuit of the Americas in 10 years. Don’t get me wrong, I love f1. I attended 2 of the races when they were here in Indy, and honestly, it was the series that got me back into motorsports. F1 holds a very special place in my heart but these are the Americas and indycar racing should run the international show over here.
I have long been an advocate of a “Triple Crown” of ovals, although I suspect the other two “jewels” could suffice at 400 rather than 500 miles, leaving Indy as the lone 500 miler. I remember from the days of the MIchigan 500, that in many years, the race turned into a war of attrition and produce some, let’s just say, UNIQUE winners.
Pocono would almost have to be repaved and then ground before Indycars could travel there at 200+, not to mention the SAFER barrier issues. Taking that into account (and finding some investor to do it,) you’d almost have to run that race right around the July 4th weekend, as the weather there can be a real issue.
Now, if you really want to dream, take some weekend that NASCAR is on a road course, and run INDYCAR at Talladega. Just imagine the speeds you could see.
And, extending THAT dream, why not have a “Triple Crown” of road/street courses? Start with Long Beach, then go to Watkins Glen and Road America. You add a few extra points for the “Triple Crown” races, (both ways,) maybe even extending the duration of the “Triple Crown” road/street course events slightly over the “two hour” tradition.
Jeez, it’s fun to dream….
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I so want to see the boys run at Dega. I just couldn’t bring myself to add it anywhere… it seems so far out of the realm of possibilities but man that would be incredible!
Great schedule Eric…it would be nice to see the potential dates just to have fun on the discussion. I’m really engaged on the Circuit of the Americas branding. This is a great opportunity for IndyCar and the teams to make a difference and focus sponsors and fans on the TRUE open wheel series that has the best more diverse drivers in the world…count me in!!!
Milwaukee is a must. As I believe they say in the Newman movie, ‘Winning’, “after Indianapolis comes Milwaukee”. It just does. The same as in F1, “after Spa comes Monza”. It just /does/. It doesn’t need explaining, it just happens.
Sebring is way too bumpy on the long course for open-wheelers, and I’ll never suggest anything so heinous as to grind it, that would dilute the unique challenge of the 12 Hrs (tougher than 24 Hrs at Le Mans). Take that out and there’s your space for a 3rd Canadian round, if only in numbers not dates. I suggest Montreal, whether that be Circuit Gilles Villeneuve or up at Mont-Tremblant which held an ace Champ Car race in the 2000s. I like the South American suggestions.
Cool stuff. If they do half of this it would be an improvement over now.
I don’t see why Circuit of the Americas couldn’t hold an F1 race in one part of the year and IndyCar race in another part of the year, apart from some stupid FIA rule about not running o/w at F1 circuits.
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Why didn’t Barber make your list? It may not be a fantastic track for passing but if you have ever been to the Grand Prix of Alabama it would end up being 1st on your list. The fan support is outstanding and the track is nothing sort of Agusta… Not even getting into the museum which will blow your mind! Other than that, it would be killer to have INDY at COTA’s. I have always thought it would be great to have a track here in the states that would host both F1 and INDY….
This was written two years ago before Barber had cemented itself into an open-wheel stronghold. Now? I would be remiss if I did not include it! I still haven’t been able to make down there for a race, but it is definitely on my list. One day COTA will host indycar, but not until F1 sucks the place dry for every penny its worth before abandoning it for someone prettier and, more importantly, richer.
Your comment makes me rethink my entire schedule. Check back soon?