INDIANAPOLIS — On Wednesday, the NTT INDYCAR Series reached deal with the city of Nashville, Tennessee to host a race beginning in 2021. The contract is a three year deal which lasts through the 2023 season. The race date next year is set for Aug. 8.
So, where else do we stand for 2021? We know the schedule should come out within the next month or so but again, it’s still very fluid in nature. We’re operating in a pandemic you know.
But, I did some research and looked into what tracks are definitely going to be back for 2021 and if any of them have dates that are tied to the deals.
15 venues were initially set to host a race in 2020. We know at least three of them need new deals for next season – Iowa, Toronto and Mid-Ohio. Two of those (Toronto, Mid-Ohio) share a promoter in Green-Savoree. The same promoter is the head of two other races at St. Pete and Portland. St. Pete has a deal through 2024 to operate in March. Portland just signed a new deal to last through the 2023 season.
Iowa appears to be for sale. Does Penske buy them?
St Pete’s date next year is March 14 in terms of a race date. The remaining dates of the terms are March 13, March 12 and March 10 respectively.
The Indianapolis 500 will take place on May 30. The Grand Prix will be back but is it on May 15 or is it pushed off that weekend? We know the track prefers to use that race as a build up for the ‘500 so I expect it to stay put.
Speaking of a buildup, what about Barber Motor Sports Park, COTA and Long Beach. These have typically been with St. Pete as your spring races.
Barber’s new extension was originally set to last through 2022, but with the cancellation of this years race due to COVID, the year was tacked on to the end for 2023.
Long Beach extended their deal in 2017 to last through 2023. Their date for 2021 according to their race cancellation announcement this past year is April 18.
Barber has always been in April and with Easter on the 4th and Long Beach the 18th, would they run there the on the 11th or 25th?
COTA’s future could be bleak. Their signed a multi year deal, but is that expired?
Belle Isle signed a new deal in 2018 to last through 2021 but there’s an option for two additional years to possibly get tacked on through 2023 though as well.
Texas also signed a new deal in 2018 to last through 2022. Road America has a deal signed in 2018 as well through 2021. Richmond signed a multi year deal so they should be back in 2021 and does 2020s cancellation become 2022?
That leaves World Wide Technology Raceway who’ve already said that they’ll be back in 2021 and back under the lights too and Laguna Seca who’s still operating under their original agreement to last through 2021.
Could we see expansion still in the future? Nashville joined Gateway, Portland, Laguna Seca and Richmond as the most recent tracks joining the schedule. Gateway came in 2017, Portland in 2018, Laguna Seca in 2019 and Richmond in 2020. That’s five straight years.
Penske has made it clear he wants to remain in the 16-20 race wheel house for a season. Mark Miles has made it clear in the past that it’s wise to end before football season really gets going too deep. Did Mid-Ohio’s strong showing against the NFL last Sunday help maybe push the season back further?
Either way, March-late September/early October is a great season.
Also, we have the Olympics next year from July 23-Aug 8. They weren’t going to go against them this year.
So, if everything remains somewhat the same for 2021 as initially scheduled for 2020, you could get –
Speculated 2021 schedule by me (not counting if any new tracks or doubleheader’s are added)
March 14 – St. Pete
April 18 – Long Beach
April 25 – Barber
May 15 – Indy GP
May 30 – Indy 500
June 5 – Belle Isle
June 6 – Belle Isle
June 12 – Texas
June 20 – Road America
June 26 – Richmond
Aug 8 – Nashville
Aug 15 – Mid-Ohio
Aug. 21 – World Wide Technology Raceway
Sept. 12 – Portland
Sept. 19 – Laguna Seca