INDIANAPOLIS — One topic coming out of this past weekend’s NTT INDYCAR Series race at the Texas Motor Speedway was the future of the track with the series. With an expiring contract and no new deal in place, I think most just assumed that 2022 would be it for the two sides.
Well, after how well Sunday’s XPEL 375 was run, more are open to the fact of a new deal instead. After all, we can’t keep losing ovals off the schedule. If there’s one already there, especially one like Texas who’s been around since 1997, why lose it since we’ve figured out a way to see a better race?
A hot rumor floating around has been the possibility of a return to the Milwaukee Mile. After Sunday, some want both Texas and Milwaukee now. Even a return to Pocono?
The thing is, Roger Penske and Mark Miles have each said they’d like the keep the schedule with the same amount of weekend’s that we already have. 17 races is ideal to them. Plus, with a new TV contract in place, we don’t know exactly what wording is in there with a plan per how many races.
I have a feeling if there is, they’d like it to stay around the amount we have now.
In saying that, if Texas is back, I doubt you can just “add” Milwaukee or Pocono or anywhere else you’d like. They may come at the expense of another race. In saying that, what other race could drop off?
Iowa is back on a multi-year deal. Reports last year had also 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 as well. This track has been a hit since its return in 2017 and arguably one of the better events on the schedule each year.
They’ll stay. Indy is Indy and neither the ‘500 nor the two road course races are likely to be dropped. That’s at least five races with the potential of six if Iowa stays a doubleheader for the future.
St. Pete just signed a new deal last summer that runs through 2026. Same for Road America who announced a multi-year deal too.
Belle Isle who will see the island host their final race in 2022 will move to the city streets in 2023. The original contract for the island 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.
Long Beach announced this winter that they’ve renewed a plan to host INDYCAR through 2028.
That gets you to 11-12 races.
INDYCAR’s deal with Barber was supposed to end in 2021 but due to missing last year due to COVID, the deal was extended through 2022 instead. They are up for a renewal with Texas. So is Laguna Seca.
The only two tracks left to renew now is Mid-Ohio and Toronto who both are with the same promoter (Green Savoree Racing). That group also has Portland and St. Pete too with Portland up for renewal next season. Do they just knock out all three at the same time to give Portland an early extension and line them up with St. Pete?
It’s essentially down to Texas, Barber, Mid-Ohio and Toronto for 2023. They’re not contractually on it now, but that can change.
Could we see expansion still in the future too? Iowa joined Nashville who joined Gateway, Portland, Laguna Seca, COTA, Rod America and Richmond as the most recent tracks joining the schedule. 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 seven straight years. Do we see No. 8?