In the year 2009

Posted by Iannucci | 7/29/2008 | 31 comments »
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The Indy Racing League has scheduled a press conference or teleconference or some such exposition for tomorrow where they are expected to reveal the 2009 schedule, although not in same the way Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson did ther own "reveal" a few years ago.

At least...nevermind.

But why wait for Christmas when you can open some presents on Christmas Eve, right? First up with some goodies is the intrepid Curt Cavin, reports that we will see an "18-track lineup".

The season will begin April 5 with the street course race in St. Petersburg, Fla., and end Oct. 11 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The Indianapolis 500 will be May 24.

Not to be outdone, Chris Estrada at Indy Racing Revolution has done his own reporting (probably using a serach engine, a tool many "journalists" still eschew) and discovered that Richmond has been confirmed for June 27th.

So as of right now we have:

April 5th, St Petersburg
May 24th, Indianapolis
June 27th Richmond
October 11th, Homestead

This list will be updated as Breaking News occurs, although my first impression is that it's difficul to be ecstatic about ending the season at Homestead, where the fans often disguise themselves as empty seats. Whither Chicagoland?

UPDATE: Estrada also kindly forwarded this from to the Inbox.

"We are pleased the IRL selected three SMI facilities," (SMI's Eddie) Gossage said. "But we're very disappointed they didn't want the benefits they could have received from New Hampshire and Las Vegas.

"This had nothing to do with sanctioning fees. They were not interested in New Hampshire and only wanted to run the club-racing road course at Las Vegas instead of one of the most outstanding oval tracks in the country. We're weren't prepared to accept that," Gossage said.

Ack! Could someone please get Mr George a tall glass of Ovaltine? Please?

UPDATE 2: TrackSide Online (sign up today!) says:

Date Track
April 5 Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
April 19 Streets of Long Beach
April 26 Kansas Speedway
May 24 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
May 31 The Milwaukee Mile
June 6 Texas Motor Speedway*
June 21 Iowa Speedway
June 27 Richmond International Raceway*
July 5 Watkins Glen International
July 12 Streets of Toronto
July 26 Edmonton City Centre Airport
Aug. 1 Kentucky Speedway*
Aug. 9 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Aug. 23 Infineon Raceway
Aug. 29 Chicagoland Speedway*
Sept. 6 The Raceway at Belle Isle Park
Sept. 19 Twin Ring Motegi, Japan
Oct. 11 Homestead-Miami Speedway

*Saturday night

Well, what do ya think?

UPDATE 3: Meanwhile, here in 2008...Crikey!

The IndyCar Series will travel to Australia for the Gold Coast Indy 300 on Oct. 23-26 -- the first IndyCar Series event in the country. Following the event at Surfers Paradise, the IndyCar Series will continue its postseason celebration with a championship banquet in Las Vegas.

"We are pleased to announce that the IndyCar Series will hold its first event in Australia this October to celebrate the completion of a successful first season of unified open-wheel racing," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights.

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  1. Goose // July 29, 2008 9:12 PM  

    Also, it appears as though there won't be races at Las Vegas or New Hampshire.

    Something tells me a lot of people will be unhappy with the '09 schedule.

  2. Goose // July 29, 2008 9:13 PM  

    Oops, sorry about the long links.

  3. Anonymous // July 29, 2008 9:17 PM  

    If it's true that the season won't start until April, that's unfortunate. That means a seven month break between '08 and '09, apart from whatever happens with Australia. Ugh.

  4. Anonymous // July 29, 2008 9:25 PM  

    Fix it!

  5. Anonymous // July 29, 2008 10:16 PM  

    Champ Car's body is dead. But its soul sure ain't from the looks of things...

  6. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 3:50 AM  

    18 tracks, we get Long Beach, and no more Nashville. Why so negative folks?


  7. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 5:30 AM  

    Great business plan, end the season with a yawn in front of 4,000 people.

  8. pressdog // July 30, 2008 5:40 AM  

    Gotta love Eddie "Goose" Gossage. "We're pleased the IRL is at THREE of our tracks but they are idiots for not being at FIVE." Greedy much? I agree with the masses that ending at Homstead id goofy. Maybe they hope having the finally there will boost attendance into the mid-5000s.

  9. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 5:55 AM  


    Any love for Road America on this future schedule?

    IMO, it's time for the IRL to say "Ya hey dere!" to RA.

    "Nuttin' like runnin' a race in God's Country, you betcha!"

    Brats, beer, and Danica!, what more do you need?

  10. Fred Hurley // July 30, 2008 6:54 AM  

    Re: Las Vegas, it's not the wackiest thing that the IRL isn't looking to add the high-banked 1.5-mile oval to the schedule. It's a twin of Texas, and Kansas, Kentucky, Homestead, and Chicagoland are also similar in their size and speed. While Texas is always exciting, every year, a few drivers mention that fans love it, but it's not their favorite thing, with the increased element of danger. I think the IRL is trying to put together an oval strategy that makes sense, even if it doesn't come to fruition for a couple of years. Of course they'd love Phoenix and Michigan, and likely New Hampshire, but flipping the schedule on its ear in year one of the new era doesn't make sense either. These tracks are almost all known quantities, so sticking with them for another year, particularly as some teams are still trying to build a book of tech notes on these cars, makes some sense. I think it's a two of three year process. The 2010 schedule will likely look a little different, and again in 2011. I suspect the 2011 schedule will look like the schedule the IRL wants to have going forward.

  11. Unknown // July 30, 2008 8:16 AM  

    Only thing that nicks my whiskers about this schedule is the three week break between Motegi and the "Finale at Miami". You think attendance is bad there now? What happens if the points battle is already decided at that point? Add three weeks off (5 weeks out of the country) and you're looking at a season that ends with barely even a whimper.

  12. mikebdot // July 30, 2008 8:25 AM  

    Why are Danica and Graham on the front page? Behind Helio nonetheless? Weird. Did I miss something? They racing Indycar trucks?

  13. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 8:35 AM  

    Next year's Edmonton race is on the same day as the Brickyard 400. Will the Edmonton race be on ABC competing against the Brickyard on ESPN? Will they start the Edmonton race at 6:00 pm eastern so it doesn't conflict with the Competition Caution 400? Will it be (gulp) tape-delayed?

  14. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 9:04 AM  

    does seem like tg is going carty. hopefully they'll schedule the aussie race between japan and florida next year. I agree that its good to move slowly, at least for next year. as far as edmonton and brickyard--is that cutting off your nose to spite your face or cutting off your face to spite your nose?

  15. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 9:35 AM  

    No Elkhart Lake, no Surfers, no Burke Lakefront Airport... very disappointed.

  16. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 10:23 AM  

    No Road America, no Surfers, no Cleveland, no New Hampshire, no Phoenix (oval), no Michigan, no Fontana, no Laguna very disappointed. Add to that the fact that Sonoma is on the schedule sucks. Sonoma is a wanna-be Laguna and needs to be kicked out. I suppose the IRL have to wait for current contracts to run out before dropping races and they don't want to bring in markets that they'd essentially be competing with themselves in. It's a good start TG but BRING A NEW FREAKING TECHNICAL PACKAGE NEXT YEAR SO THE OVALS (and some street courses) DON'T BORE ME TO DEATH!!!! Also, is it sooo hard to buy a freaking truck to pull the stopped cars off the course without going full course? RAWR! Now I'm on a rant... oh well. (A very bipolar rant.)

  17. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 11:12 AM  

    yikes who thunk up the idea to have the finale in Miami during the middle of football season. I think 5,000 fans might be a bit optimistic unless your counting family of the drivers and reporters. Does anyone know if the dolphins are playing that day or the hurricanes the day before.

  18. Demond Sanders // July 30, 2008 11:19 AM  

    In fairness, this is about what we expected given the reports and speculation over the past month. Miami's retention is surprising, but not shocking.

    Indycar can't support 20 races yet. It doesn't make sense to drop multiple tracks in favor of tracks that aren't a guaranteed smash hit to begin with.

  19. Unknown // July 30, 2008 3:16 PM  

    No Cleveland? Again?

    Good call, TG. You really are the Anti-Christ! Thanks for putting me one step closer to swearing off open-wheel forever!

    What could you possibly do for an encore? Announce that Marty Roth will be the official pole-sitter for the rest of the season?

  20. Demond Sanders // July 30, 2008 3:41 PM  

    People love to bitch about open-wheel. You got 8 non-ovals and they aren't in bizarre places like China or the Netherlands. Learn to love it.

    It's not written in stone beyond '09. If road/street racing is what the public wants then it will win out in the end. But if ovals are more profitable then that's what we'll see. That's the great thing about this series: Simple economics will finally settle this long-lasting debate. I'm guessing it'll stay about 50/50 over the next 5 years, but who knows. . .

  21. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 3:52 PM  

    Get rid of Homestead - add Michigan.

    Get rid of Belle Isle - add Road America.

    Get rid of Mid-Ohio - add Cleveland.

    Add Surfers to the season's end.

    I am once again a happy man.

  22. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 4:04 PM  

    you can't get rid of mid ohio or belle isle, the crowds are unbelievable at both venues. I'd love to see cleveland, it's necessary, but it's oversaturating that market (which happens to be mine) with indy, kentucky, belle isle, and mid ohio already on the schedule.

    why the exhibition at surfers this year, but no race next year? and the huge gap to homestead, from motegi is extreme. Why two weeks between the canadian races? seems like it'd save the teams some serious travel expense if they'd run them back to back weeks.

    what do I know though.

  23. Jason // July 30, 2008 7:01 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  24. Jason // July 30, 2008 7:02 PM  

    Someone needs to tell the person who builds the points table at that Surfers is just an "exhibition"...assuming it is

  25. Anonymous // July 30, 2008 9:00 PM  

    This is Mrs. Mmack. I have been threatening to post for a while...the 2009 schedule finally got me to do it! What were Tony George and the "unified" owners thinking?
    Joliet at night and two weeks earlier. Brilliant! Joliet is dicey by day let alone after dark. 2 weeks earlier means at least 10 dew points higher. Ah yes, thank you Tony, et al for sparing me from the sunshine. I would much rather dodge the pre-historic-large-enough-to-saddle-and-ride bugs that will be joining us for that race under the lights. I am also so glad to see the powers that be moved what has historically been a most exciting end to the IRL season from September in Chicagoland, one of our better months, to Florida in early October...which is still in Hurricane season. Can anyone in IRL management spell KATIRNA?! Perhaps they should ask Gene Simmons, you know Jeff's father, how to spin that one. Over the last few years good tracks have been cut, yet Motegi remains. Nashville is the latest victim. How about let's ditch that nasty track in KY instead and keep a great track in a great city...Nashville! Glad to see at least we still have Indy in May. I thin, when that goes to make room for Venezuela to appease the Milka Dunno fans it will be a sure sign of the apocalypse.

  26. Anonymous // July 31, 2008 4:09 AM  

    ughhhh ! I'm tired of fans cheering for Cleveland !! We already have enought road courses !!

    Just drive 90 miles south to see Mid-Ohio !!!

    We the fans and the league need more ovals like Atlanta, New Hampshire, Las Vegas dammit !

  27. Anonymous // July 31, 2008 5:35 AM  

    According to Surfer's Paradise is still talking about a race in 2009 (article by Sam Tickell). It is a matter of when, not if, as I read it. There is a six year contract between the track and the IRL.

  28. Demond Sanders // July 31, 2008 5:39 AM  

    "why the exhibition at surfers this year, but no race next year?"

    I believe there are rumblings that they plan on adding in September of '09. In that huge gap before Miami.

    I don't think they'd run it this year if they didn't plan on keeping it. I'm guessing it just isn't finalized yet.

  29. Anonymous // July 31, 2008 5:39 AM  

    O lord 6 more years of a boring street race at 2am eastern time !

  30. mikebdot // July 31, 2008 6:14 AM  

    mtm: Did you go to (or watch) the Nashville race? There was very little green flag passing. They ran about 35 laps with, literally, not a single pass made.

    The leaders either had a hard time making passes on lapped traffic or were playing bs games to use the lap traffic to their advantage. Either way, there was only one groove there. Personally I liked the race in Kentucky better. I'll be there next week again this year!

  31. Anonymous // July 31, 2008 2:09 PM  

    Mrs. mmack,

    Agree with you on Chicagoland. I'm not exactly sure what they did to lose the finale to anyone save maybe if the Las Vegas race materialized.

    The tracks themselves don't worry as much, knowing it could change again in 2010. My problem is ending the season with (by default) your least viewed race on TV, followed by 3 weeks off, and ending with your least attended race. Talk about killing any momentum you might have at the end of the season.