INDIANAPOLIS — This came in overnight on the east coast but on Tuesday evening, the Long Beach City Council unanimously approved a new contract to keep the NTT IndyCar Series racing on the scenic southern California street course though the 2028 season.
This was all part of a grander plan to help setup/tear down for the summer Olympic games that will be held in Los Angeles in 2028. The previous contract was given the approval at the end of 2017 and was scheduled to expire in June of 2023.
Now, the race will get a five year extension.
The Grand Prix of Long Beach began in 1975 as a Formula 5000 event. A year later, Formula 1 came to town for an eight year reign with the final race being held in 1983. In 1984, CART filled the void and began what has been a rich history of major North American open wheel history on the prestigious street circuit.
The series has been coming to Long Beach every year with the exception of the 2020 pandemic and now will enter Year 38 this April and will have the 44th edition take place in 2028. If you count in the eight year of F1 and the lone one of Formula 5000, Long Beach would have hosted 47 Grand Prix’s in a 48 year span come 2028.
Now, with saying that, where does the rest of the INDYCAR schedule hold?
The series reached new deals with four tracks just last season.
Last August, it was announced that Iowa would be making a return as the series announced that they have reached a new deal to return to the Iowa Speedway on a multi-year contract.
Reports then circulated too that World Wide Technology Raceway has reached a new multiyear deal to keep themselves in the series for at the very minimum the next two seasons. This track has been a hit since its return in 2017 and arguably one of the better events on the schedule each year.
Also part of the deals this week are that both races will have title sponsors in Hy-Vee at Iowa and Bommarito Automotive Group in Gateway which has been rebranded in recent years from World Wide Technology.
INDYCAR’s deal with the Texas Motor Speedway is up after this year’s race. Same for Barber. Their initial deal with Barber was supposed to end in 2021 but due to missing the 2020 race due to COVID, the deal was extended through 2022 instead.
Somewhat same for Belle Isle who will see the island host their final race in 2022. The original contract lasted through 2023, but the city of Detroit and INDYCAR agreed to new terms for which will bring the series back downtown on the mainland for a new street race.
The GMR Grand Prix/Indy 500/Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix obviously aren’t going anywhere either.
So, this means that Texas, Barber and Laguna Seca are operating on the final year of their contracts. Portland and Nashville will be in 2023. Toronto’s future is uncertain with them missing the last two years. Mid-Ohio is in the same boat with them not reaching a new extension yet.
The thing is, Green Savoree Racing promotes a nice chunk of these races. They have Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Portland coming up to renegotiate as well as St. Pete for which they already have a long term deal operating.
Could we see expansion still in the future too? Iowa joined Nashville who joined Gateway, Portland, Laguna Seca, COTA, Road America and Richmond as the most recent tracks joining the schedule. NOLA came onboard in 2015. Road America rejoined in 2016, Gateway came in 2017, Portland in 2018, COTA/Laguna Seca in 2019, Richmond in 2020, Nashville in 2021 and Iowa back for 2022. That’s eight straight years. Do we see a ninth for 2023?
Nevertheless, the series’ future is in great hands without many question marks. The entitlement sponsor in NTT Data was reupped last past May for a multi-year deal.
Then, the new multi-year TV deal was announced during the summer break last year to keep the series on NBC Sports for the next several years.
Finally, the car counts are rising too with at least 26 full time cars going to be on the grid for 2022 with more teams likely coming in the future.
The series is well on their way to being as secure as its ever been.