INDIANAPOLIS — While the 2023 NTT INDYCAR Series schedule isn’t out yet, between IMSA, Trans Am and now NASCAR unveiling there’s in the last month or so, you can get some hints on what the INDYCAR slate will look like.
We know series officials would like to shorten the gap in the spring months between races and that the end date will take place around the time that it did this year. Other than that, there’s not much other change on it.
So, here’s what clues could lead us to fill some gaps.
The season will likely once again start in St. Pete. They just signed a new deal last summer that runs through 2026. I’ve heard the race may be pushed back to March again. Per the initial agreement, the race weekend for 2023 was slated to be – March 9-12, 2023. However, the 2022 edition was supposed to be March 10-13, 2022 but they were able to move it up to the end of February. While that could definitely be an option again next season, I’m starting to hear they may run it back in March again to close the gap between the spring races. The Chamber of Commerce site has a date of March 6 which is in between this past year’s race date and what the agreement between the city and track initially agreed upon a few years ago.
Easter is April 9 and INDYCAR has annually avoided that holiday weekend and I don’t see any change again next year.
Long Beach will be April 16. Both INDYCAR and Long Beach announced last winter that they reached a new deal through 2028.
Texas announced that INDYCAR will be back as a shared weekend with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. For Texas, I kept hearing rumors of a 1-year renewal and with the Truck Series race there being April 1, why not have a return of the Truck-INDYCAR shared weekend on the 1.5-mile oval?
The NASCAR Cup Series races at Richmond on April 2 which I can see a late afternoon start there. INDYCAR can run an early afternoon race again at Texas and be over before the NASCAR race. It also brings a date in the spring too.
Barber’s contract is up but I don’t get any indications that either side want to part in terms of Barber. 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.
IMS has already been promoting the GMR Grand Prix race weekend and you know the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will be on May 28.
We also already know that the inaugural street race in Detroit will be on June 4.
Road America will be back as they last year announced a multi-year deal too. The thing for them is, do they stay in June or does their weekend move since NASCAR isn’t back on the Fourth of July weekend there? TransAm will be there on July 6-9. They won’t be a headliner so does INDYCAR move back? That’s because the Xfinity Series is the lone NASCAR visit to the track and their date is July 29.
We know the NASCAR weekend at IMS was moved back to August again so that date looks to be Aug. 12 for the shared race event. IMS is promoting it being back so I don’t know why that would change.
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.
Nashville is here through 2023 as the date per the TransAm schedule will be Aug. 6.
That gets you St. Pete, Long Beach, GMR Grand Prix, Indy 500, Detroit, Road America, Iowa, NASCAR-INDYCAR shared weekend, World Wide Technology Raceway, Nashville and Portland.
That also gets you to 11-12 races set depending on if Iowa stays as a doubleheader or not.
The rest is down to Barber, Texas, Mid-Ohio, Toronto and Laguna Seca. Mid-Ohio and Toronto have 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?
Another thing to watch is the weekend after Belle Isle. If left open, it allows the drivers to race LeMans which is June 10-11. Sebring always falls in mid March so doing St. Pete then taking the a week off allows the drivers to do both races.
Could we also see expansion still in the future too anyhow? 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?
The drivers want more ovals on the schedule.
“I just think we need to get back to more ovals, which I think everybody can definitely agree on that,” Dixon said. “It’s just picking the right ones, picking the right partnerships that do exactly what they’ve done in Iowa or here in St. Louis.”
Milwaukee is back on the Truck Series calendar and a shared weekend with INDYCAR could be big. That race is Aug. 27 so in theory, INDYCAR could have an opening pre Labor Day there.
2023 Tentative Schedule?
March 12: St. Pete
April 2: Texas (needs new contract)
April 16: Long Beach
April 23 or 30th: Barber (needs contract renewal)
May 13: GMR Grand Prix
May 28: Indianapolis 500
June 4: Detroit
July 2: Mid-Ohio (needs a new contract)
July 9: Road America? (move to this date with Trans Am)
July 16: Toronto (needs new contract)
July 22-23: Iowa (doubleheader?)
Aug. 6: Nashville
Aug. 12: Indy Road Course
Aug. 19: World Wide Technology Raceway
Sept. 3: Portland
Sept 10: Laguna Seca (need new contract signed)