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Women in Racing has compiled the following information on
the IRL 15 race schedule for 2012. They may add two
additional races. What with IRL and Champ Car combining
to reduce the number of open-wheel races and tracks, now
they've added China and cut the schedule down to only 11
races in the US. Six street, four oval, three road and one
airport course. The number of ovals currently on the
schedule are half of those in 2011. I've always seen
round-d-rounds as boring and more focused on pit strategy
than driver skill and after last year's Las Vegas event, I'd
just as soon see no ovals. (12/22/11)
Date Track Mar 25 Streets of St.
FL 1.8-mile street course Apr 1 Barber
Motorsports Park ,
AL 2.38-mile road course Apr 15 Streets of Long
Long Beach, CA 1.968-mile street course Apr 29 Streets
of San Paulo,
Brazil 2.536-mile street coure May 27 Indianapolis
IN, 2.5-mile oval Jun 3 Detroit
Belle Isle Park ,
MI 2.1-mile street course. Jun 9 Texas
Fort Worth, TX
1.5-mile oval Jun 16 The
West Allis, WI 1-mile oval Jun 23 Iowa
Newton, IA .875-mile oval Jul 8 Streets
of Toronto ,
Canada1.721-mile street course Jul 22 JAGflo
at City Centre Airport, Edmonton, AB 1.973-mile
airport course Aug 5 Mid-Ohio
Sports Car Course ,
Lexington, OH 2.258-mile road course Aug 19 Streets
of Quindao ,
China (PRC) 3.87-mile street course
Canceled Aug 26 Infineon
Sonoma, CA 2.245-mile road course Sep 2 Streets
of Baltimore ,
MD 2-mile street course Sep 15 Auto
Club Speedway ,
Fontana, CA 2-mile oval
Streets of St. Petersburg , FL 1.8-mile street course
Barber Motorsports Park , AL 2.38-mile road course
Streets of Long Beach Long Beach, CA 1.968-mile street course
Streets of San Paulo, Brazil 2.536-mile street coure
Indianapolis Motor Speedway IN, 2.5-mile oval
Detroit Belle Isle Park , MI 2.1-mile street course.
Texas Motor Speedway Fort Worth, TX 1.5-mile oval
The Milwaukee Mile , West Allis, WI 1-mile oval
Iowa Speedway , Newton, IA .875-mile oval
Streets of Toronto , Canada1.721-mile street course
JAGflo Speedway at City Centre Airport, Edmonton, AB 1.973-mile airport course
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course , Lexington, OH 2.258-mile road course
Streets of Quindao , China (PRC) 3.87-mile street course Canceled
Infineon Raceway , Sonoma, CA 2.245-mile road course
Streets of Baltimore , MD 2-mile street course
Auto Club Speedway , Fontana, CA 2-mile oval
Unless Randy Bernard and Bruton Smith can find a couple of title sponsors, the 2012 IZOD IndyCar schedule is going to be hurting for ovals.
Because without some major funding there will be no races at Kentucky or Loudon, N.H., Milwaukee has already thrown in the towel and Motegi, Japan is gone.
Smith, whose SMI tracks at Texas, Sonoma, Las Vegas, Loudon and Kentucky comprise almost a third of this years schedule, met with Bernard here Saturday afternoon trying to find a way to keep Kentucky Speedway and New Hampshire International Speedway on the 2012 card.
We need title sponsors to make these things work, said Bernard, the IndyCar CEO who is promoting the season finale at Smiths Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16.
The ovals are important to our fan base and to our series because we need to keep a balance in order to remain the most diverse series in the world.
Im concerned but what can we do? Its a tough deal right now getting promoters for ovals.
This years schedule has seven oval tracks (comprising 8 of the 17 races) and, without Loudon and Kentucky, there may only be five ovals in 2012 Indianapolis, Texas, Iowa, Vegas and Fontana, Calif.
There had been talk of returning to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. but no deal could be reached and after Milwaukees new promoters lost over $1 million last June, the oldest circuit in IndyCar has been dropped.
Tony Georges original Indy Racing League featured all ovals from 1996-2018 before beginning to add street and road courses but ovals have steadily become endangered species.
Phoenix, Michigan and Milwaukee were CART strongholds prior to The Split but all three became financial losers and were eventually dropped.
Milwaukee tried hosting both Champ Car and IRL without any success before going dark in 2010 and this summers return to the state fairgrounds mile drew a poor crowd just like Loudon, which was back on the IndyCar schedule for the first time since 1998.
Unless something changes, there would only be six of 17 races on ovals next season (Texas stages a doubleheader).
China, expected to replace Motegi, Japan was thought to be a done deal for a street show at Qingdao but still hasnt been finalized.
It's not signed yet and we should know within three weeks,'' said Bernard. I'm always optimistic but there's always a 'but' in these motorsports deals. We thought we had a deal for a second race in Brazil (Porto Alegre) but it fell through at the last minute.
I think well be at 17 races next year.
Officially, there are two new races at old venues. The street race at Belle Isle in Detroit will follow the Indianapolis 500 on June 3 and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana will be back on the schedule Sept. 15 after a seven-year absence.
There had been discussions that Laguna Seca might replace Sonoma, which had its best ever crowd last August despite being a road course that offers very little in the way of passing. But Infineon will remain in 2012, although Bernard has asked for a track configuration to enhance passing on the old road courses from the 1960s.
I did tell Mid-Ohio and Infineon that they needed to make some changes to make the racing more exciting," continued Bernard. We can't continue to go to tracks that aren't exciting and both of those places said they would make changes.''
Bernard had discussed having a doubleheader at Iowa on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
The promoters at Iowa loved the idea but our car owners didn't like it,"' he explained. I don't understand it, it would have saved the teams a lot of money.''
Another possible promotion was going to be a street race around a casino in Las Vegas on a Friday, followed by the season-ending race on the Vegas oval. The city of Las Vegas is all for it but it's going to require $9 million from somewhere.''
With new cars and engines set for 2012, the season will
open in late March at St. Petersburg but in the future,
Bernard eventually wants 22 races and an early February
Sir Richard Branson has used airplanes to help grow his massive fortune, so it stands to reason that he would eventually become involved with the closest thing that auto racing has to an aircraft.
Bransons Virgin Group announced today that it has signed to become an affiliate sponsor with the TrueCar racing team that competes in the IZOD Indy Car Series. The TrueCar Racing fields cars for woman drivers in a number of motorsports series, and has joined partnered with Dragon Racing this year to provide a ride for Katherine Legge in Indy Car.
"We are thrilled to have the Virgin Group team with TrueCar Racing to help empower women in racing and to help strengthen and broaden the message that women racers can statistically win in a sport dominated by men with the right resources and support," said Scott Painter, Founder and CEO of TrueCar, Inc. "We are committed to providing our team with the tools they need to win now and in the future."
Virgin will be included on the #6 Indy Car that is currently shared between Legge and four-time series champion Sebastien Bourdais. Legge drives the teams Chevrolet-powered entry on oval tracks such as the one this weekend in Iowa while Bourdais takes over on the road and street courses. It was not immediately known if this sponsorship would enable the team to return to a two-car effort.
The sponsorship also includes the five other TrueCar entries that are scattered throughout various open-wheel and sportscar series, each of which is currently fielding female drivers.
"This initiative speaks volumes on
our commitment to empowering women. Given the opportunity,
women race car drivers have a great capacity for success,"
said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. "We're
excited to help TrueCar Racing and its women drivers achieve
victory on and off the track."
The IndyCar race in China on Aug. 19 was officially canceled Wednesday, and series CEO Randy Bernard must find another event for the second-half of the season.
Bernard had been working with promoters in Qingdao the last several months to salvage the race, which was announced last November to run at the same time as the International Beer Festival. The inaugural race would have been held on a temporary 3.87-mile street circuit in the city that hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics sailing competition.
Despite an existing contract, new leadership in local government balked at the IndyCar race. Discussions began with IndyCar about moving the event to a new date or new location.
When faced with a deadline, Bernard said Wednesday event promoters canceled the race.
"The new Mayor took office on March 28, and it was his opinion that it shouldn't be run at the same time as the beer festival," Bernard told The Associated Press. "Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time at that point to reschedule or find a new location. We evaluated several different options and it was finally in the promoters' best interest to cancel the event."
Bernard said IndyCar is evaluating what it can recoup from the existing contract.
As for what Bernard will do to fill the hole in the IndyCar schedule, he said he's looking at several different options.
"I don't think we need a decision right this minute," he said. "When we do it, we need to do it right and make sure it's the best fit for the series and the schedule and the championship race."
He did not reveal what he's considering, but there's speculation IndyCar could pick up Pocono Raceway or an Oct. 7 second stop at Texas Motor Speedway.
There are other intriguing venues that Bernard can't negotiate with just yet because they are located in non-compete mileage restrictions with existing IndyCar venues. For example, if Bernard was interested in a return to Elkhart Lake, he could not speak to those promoters until after this weekend's race at Milwaukee.
Bernard also indicated that the Sept. 15 race at Fontana may not be the season finale. The race picked up that slot when Las Vegas was canceled following Dan Wheldon's fatal accident at that track, but Bernard may need to schedule something after Fontana as a replacement for China.
The cancellation of China marks the first time in 10 years IndyCar won't race in Asia. The series spent nine years at the Twin Ring Motegi Superspeedway in Motegi City, Japan. But that contract ended, and IndyCar eyed China as its fourth international venue in 2012.
The series has already raced in Sao Paulo, and has
scheduled stops this season in Toronto and Edmonton.
(Editor's note: This is a sign that, maybe, IndyCar will stop trying to overshadow F1. When it wiped out Champ Cars, and denied F1 in the US, it illuminated many open-wheel races and tracks in the US, denying many open-wheel fans of a local venue. I would love to see IndyCar eliminate all foreign tracks that are out of North America, and increase races inside the USA, preferable at street, airport or road courses. Except for the Indy 500, let NASCAR have the round-d-rounds.)
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