First-time events in Brazil and Birmingham, Ala., highlight the 2010 IndyCar Series schedule announced today.
In its continuing effort to offer competitors the most diverse and challenging championship in motorsports, the 2010 IndyCar Series schedule features eight oval races, four permanent road courses and five temporary circuits.
Highlights of the 2010 schedule include:
• The season opener will be contested March 14 on a series-designed circuit in Brazil. The league will announce the venue in the host city at a later date.
• The temporary street course in St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 28 will be the U.S. opener for the second year in a row.
• The first IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama will be held April 11. The IndyCar Series conducted an Open Test at the 2.38-mile, 17-turn facility in March 2009.
• The Indianapolis 500, in the middle of Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s three-year Centennial Era, will be run May 30, preceded by three weeks of practice and qualifications. Pole Day is May 15.
• Texas Motor Speedway will be the first race following the Indianapolis 500, racing under the lights on June 12.
• The temporary circuit races in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, will be held on consecutive weekends July 18 and July 25, respectively. In 2009, the events were separated by two weeks.
• The 11th IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway shifts from its early August date to Labor Day weekend.
• For the second year in a row, the season finale will be held on the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 2.
"We feel the 2010 schedule strikes a fair balance between our three major disciplines – ovals, road course and temporary circuits – while taking us into key markets in the U.S. as well as abroad for our major partners," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. "We continue to build on the solid foundation of a schedule we created last year in the wake of unification with the goal of maintaining consistent and long-term dates for our track and fans."
Race dates at Long Beach, Calif., Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Watkins Glen International, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Infineon Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway, Twin Ring Motegi and the season-ender at Homestead-Miami Speedway remain at the approximate same time as their 2009 dates.
The racing calendar, which will be broadcast by VERSUS and ESPN on ABC, includes two prime-time events. More breaks also are built into the schedule, with three consecutive weekends of competition the longest stint.
"We couldn’t be more pleased with the diversity of the schedule as it will help us maintain a championship tradition that has been exciting for both competitors and fans," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for the Indy Racing League. "The 2010 schedule keeps in-line with our goal to create a championship that requires drivers and teams to master a variety of tracks over the course of the season, and hopefully once again see our title battle come down to the final race of the year."
The event in Brazil, which hosted Indy car racing as recently as 2000, will be the first for the IndyCar Series in South America. The series currently features Brazilian drivers Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Raphael Matos, Vitor Meira and Mario Moraes.
"While our primary focus continues to be building the sport of IndyCar Series domestically, the race in Brazil affords us a unique opportunity to visit a country that has a huge passion for open-wheel racing. With strong support from our major partner APEX-Brasil, a significant television package from TV Bandeirantes, a large number of drivers from the country and the opportunity for a unique course, it makes sense from both a business and competition standpoint," Angstadt said.
Barber Motorsports Park, which opened in 2003 and includes the 144,000 square-foot Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, was the realization of a goal of George Barber. It is the largest philanthropic project in the history of the state of Alabama with more than $70 million private funds contributed.
"This will be the only IndyCar Series race in the Deep South, meaning it is a great tourist draw for the region. Plus, having the automotive world focus on our state enables us to highlight our growing automotive industry," said Gene Hallman, President of Zoom Motorsports, the track’s promoter.
The 2010 IndyCar Series television schedule will be announced at a later date. The Indy Racing League will be announced the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights, which is celebrating its 100th race this weekend, schedule in the immediate future.
The complete 2010 IndyCar Series schedule:
March 14 Brazil
March 28 St. Petersburg, Fla.
April 11 Alabama
April 18 Long Beach, Calif.
May 1 Kansas City, Kan.
May 30 Indianapolis
June 12* Fort Worth, Texas
June 20 Newton, Iowa
July 4 Watkins Glen, N.Y.
July 18 Toronto, Ontario
July 25 Edmonton, Alberta
August 8 Lexington, Ohio
August 22 Sonoma, Calif.
August 28 Chicago
Labor Day Weekend Sparta, Ky.
September 18 Montegi, Japan
October 2 Homestead, Fla
* Denotes night race