IndyCar releases 17-race 2015 schedule set to kick off in March
INDYCAR’s long offseason has been shortened by close to one month as the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season will begin March 8 at the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet in Brazil’s capital city of Brasilia. The 17-race season will conclude on Aug. 30 at Sonoma Raceway – one week before the Labor Day Weekend holiday.
A proposed street race in Dubai is not on the 2015 schedule.
A closer look at the 2015 schedule shows other major changes with many popular venues moving dates. The Honda Indy Toronto moves from mid-July to June 14 and will be a single-race instead of a doubleheader. That change was made because the Pan-American Games will be held in Toronto during IndyCar’s traditional date. With many of the venues at Toronto’s Exhibition Place being used for the Pan-Am Games a change was necessary.
Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., moves from the season finale to a Saturday afternoon race on June 27. Pocono Raceway moves from the Fourth of July Holiday Weekend date to the penultimate race of the season on Aug. 23. The July 4 weekend will be an off-weekend for IndyCar.
“Returning to Pocono in 2015 is great news,” said Tony Kanaan, 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and former Indianapolis 500 winner. “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.”
July will have a definitive Midwestern flavor with The Milwaukee Mile scheduled for July 12 and the annual trip to Iowa Speedway on July 18 – a Saturday night race.
August kicks off with the traditional date at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Steam Corners, Ohio followed by two open weekends before the series concludes with a 500-mile race at Pocono and the road course race in Sonoma.
New races included the aforementioned trip to Brasilia and IndyCar’s first-ever trip to New Orleans’ NOLA Motorsports Park on April 12.
Detroit’s Belle Isle will host the only doubleheader weekend in 2015. Last year, doubleheaders were held at Houston, which is now off the schedule, and Toronto.
Six racing events will televised on ABC (including Indianapolis 500 Qualifications and the Detroit doubleheader) and 13 NBCSN event broadcasts. ABC will televise the 99th Indianapolis 500 on May 24 for the 51st straight year.
Fourteen of the 17 markets return from the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.
“The Verizon IndyCar Series calendar represents another step forward in our strategy to grow the series,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “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 early part of the schedule includes Brasilia on March 8 followed by the traditional stop on the Streets of St. Petersburg on March 29. April includes races at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans on April 12, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 19 and the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 26.
“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 Month of May will be focused at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9, Indy 500 Qualifications on May 16-17 and the Indianapolis 500 on May 30. ABC will televise all of the May events on the schedule.
June kicks off with the annual the Chevrolet “Dual in Detroit” at Belle Isle on May 30-June 1, a Saturday Night under the lights race at Texas Motor Speedway followed by a trip to Toronto and Auto Club Speedway on June 27.
Pocono Raceway (Aug. 23, NBCSN) returns to the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule at the tail end of a summer four-race oval swing that is highlighted by a 500-mile race at Auto Club Speedway (June 27, NBCSN) as well as short oval events at the Milwaukee Mile (July 12, NBCSN) and Iowa Speedway (July 18, NBCSN).
Sonoma Raceway will host the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season finale (Aug. 30, NBCSN), marking the first time in six years that an Indy car championship will end the season on a road course, dating back to the 2007 Champ Car finale at Mexico City.
“Sonoma has always been a great circuit for the Verizon IndyCar Series,” said Scott Dixon, a three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner. “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
Schedule subject to change
Be sure to catch Bruce Martin’s Honda IndyCar Report on RACEDAY on FOX Sports Radio every Sunday from 6-8 a.m. ET