On Thursday Oct. 30th, INDYCAR officials unveiled the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, that will see the open-wheel cars race a diverse set of tracks from March to August.
“The Verizon IndyCar Series calendar represents another step forward in our strategy to grow the series,” Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said. “There were several factors that led to the positive momentum we experienced in 2014 and we will continue to execute on those initiatives – continuity in our broadcast schedule, strategic growth of our schedule and improvements to how we promote our events. The continued support from our television partners at ABC and NBCSN, and the ongoing collaboration with promoters, teams and sponsor partners gives us a lot of confidence about our future.”
The season will begin with the series’ first visit to Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet in Brasília, Brazil (March 8, NBCSN). IndyCar has gone to Brazil over the years, however did not make their annual trip south of the North American border in 2014. Brazil fans are passionate about open-wheel racing as both Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves come from Brazil.
“It’s great to see the Verizon IndyCar Series going back to Brazil and expanding internationally,” Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti said. “Having a presence outside of the U.S. is important for the health of the series and a necessary part of growing the visibility and awareness opportunities in our industry.”
The Streets of St. Petersburg will slot in as the second race on the schedule, with the race still hosted on it’s usual weekend at the end of March (March 29th).
April will begin with the series’ debut trip to New Orleans’ NOLA Motorsports Park on the 12th, which was announced earlier this year in April. The state committed to making advancements to the track, worth $4.5 million, over the course of this year to have the newly-configured 13-turn, 2.67-mile road course ready. The race will be featured among a festival that includes food, music and other forms of entertainment. April will then end with Long Beach (April 19th) and Barber Motorsports Park (April 26), as the same with the season prior.
For the second straight year, the Month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will kick-off with the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis (May 9) and will be followed by Indy 500 qualifications (May 16-17) before ending the month of racing on Memorial Day weekend with the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (May 24) on the famed 2.5-mile oval.
The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix returns as a doubleheader event (May 30-31) and is followed on the calendar by a night race at Texas Motor Speedway (June 6). The race on Streets of Toronto has moved (June 14) to accommodate the Pan American Games that are taking place throughout July and August. Notably, the streets of Houston will not return to the 2015 schedule.
Following Toronto, the series will head to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 2) as it returns to its familiar date on the calendar.
While Auto Club Speedway hosted the season finale this past season, it will now be moved to June 27th, kicking off a four-race oval swing that includes the Milwaukee Mile (July 12) and Iowa Speedway (July 18) before heading to Pocono Raceway on August 23rd. There were concerns as to whether the series would return to Pocono Raceway in 2015 after discussions surrounding poor attendance, however the track remains on the 2014 schedule.
“Returning to Pocono in 2015 is great news,” Tony Kanaan, 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and former Indianapolis 500 winner, said. “The ‘Tricky Triangle’ is a very challenging racetrack for us and it provides great racing and excitement for the fans. Continuity is the key word to rebuild our fan base for that region and INDYCAR and Pocono are working very hard and thankfully making it happen. I’m obviously happy to be able to return in 2015 and finish the strong race we had in 2014.”
The season will end with a trip to Sonoma Raceway on August 30th to crown the series’ champion, marking the first time an IndyCar Championship will end the season on a road course, versus ending at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Fontana Speedway in seasons prior.
“Sonoma has always been a great circuit for the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Scott Dixon, a three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, said. “People always ask what my favorite track is and I often say ‘the last one I won at’ so it’s perfect for me and Team Target. It’s a very technical and challenging track and the site of the biggest Target weekend each season from a partnership perspective.”
2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Schedule
|March 8||Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet||Brasília, Brazil||3.4-mile road course||NBCSN|
|March 29||Streets of St. Petersburg||St. Petersburg, FL||1.8-mile street course||ABC|
|April 12||NOLA Motorsports Park||Avondale, LA||2.7-mile road course||NBCSN|
|April 19||Streets of Long Beach||Long Beach, CA||1.968-mile street course||NBCSN|
|April 26||Barber Motorsports Park||Birmingham, AL||2.38-mile road course||NBCSN|
|May 9||Grand Prix of Indianapolis||Indianapolis, IN||2.4346-mile road course||ABC|
|May 16-17||Indianapolis 500 Qualifying||Indianapolis, IN||2.5-mile oval||ABC|
|May 22||Carb Day||Indianapolis, IN||2.5-mile oval||NBCSN|
|May 24||Indianapolis 500||Indianapolis, IN||2.5-mile oval||ABC|
|May 30||Raceway at Belle Isle Park||Detroit, MI||2.35-mile street course||ABC|
|May 31||Raceway at Belle Isle Park||Detroit, MI||2.35-mile street course||ABC|
|June 6||Texas Motor Speedway||Fort Worth, TX||1.5-mile oval||NBCSN|
|June 14||Streets of Toronto||Toronto, Canada||1.75-mile street course||NBCSN|
|June 27||Auto Club Speedway||Fontana, CA||2-mile oval||NBCSN|
|July 12||The Milwaukee Mile||Milwaukee, WI||1-mile oval||NBCSN|
|July 18||Iowa Speedway||Newton, IA||.875-mile oval||NBCSN|
|Aug. 2||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||Lexington, OH||2.258-mile road course||NBCSN|
|Aug. 23||Pocono Raceway||Long Pond, PA||2.5-mile oval||NBCSN|
|Aug. 30||Sonoma Raceway||Sonoma, CA||2.385-mile road course||NBCSN|
Schedule subject to change