BY JIM MILLER WEEKLY INDYCAR WRITER
Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company which owns INDYCAR, is intending on announcing the Verizon IndyCar Series’ 2017 schedule within the next couple of weeks. But with the recent two-year extension being signed by Pocono Raceway, and with other events confirmed by promoters and participating sanctioning bodies, next year’s schedule is coming into view.
Building upon the existing contracted venues it is expected that IndyCar will run no less than a 17-event season by adding Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, IL and once again including Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY to the schedule. Watkins Glen stepped in this year to host the failed Boston race scheduled for September 4th.
In addition to the Pocono race date still needing confirmation, the Phoenix International Raceway event still needs slating. April 1 is the speculative date but with the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four there that weekend PIR owners are considering alternatives.
The return to Gateway is expected to be slotted between the NASCAR truck event in June and the NHRA in September. Most likely it will be in August. This will be the first time open-wheel racing has been there since the former Indy Racing League in 2003. Curtis Francois, Owner and President of Gateway Motorsports Park, diligently pursued IndyCar the past couple of years culminating in Ed Carpenter testing there last year resulting in the venue becoming an official test track for IndyCar.
With the addition of Madison next year’s schedule should be a good mix consisting of four street courses, six ovals, and six road courses.
The 2017 schedule as it stands right now:
- March 12: St. Petersburg, FL (street course)
- TBD: Phoenix, AZ (oval)
- April 9: Long Beach, CA (street course)
- April 23: Birmingham, AL (road course)
- May 13: Indianapolis, IN (road course)
- May 28: Indianapolis 500 (oval)
- June 3-4: Detroit, MI (street races)
- June 10: Fort Worth, TX (oval)
- June 25: Elkhart Lake, WI (road course)
- λ July 9: Newton, IA (oval)
- λ July 16: Toronto, Canada (street course)
- λ Aug. 6: Lexington, OH (road course)
- λ TBD: Long Pond, PA (oval)
- λ TBD: Watkins Glen, NY (road course)
- λ TBD: Madison, IL (oval)
- λ Sept. 17: Sonoma, CA (road course)