Ray Dunlap is reporting that IndyCar will run a doubleheader with the NASCAR Camping World truck Series July 11 and 12 at Iowa. This is good news in that July 12 is a Saturday, meaning IndyCar will run under the lights again at Iowa Speedway. Also, last year's Iowa event was only IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights, which had only 8 cars competing.
The combination of too little racing content, and the event being Sunday afternoon may have contributed to the uncharacteristically less-than-capacity Iowa crowd. A Trucks/IndyCar doubleheader with a Mazda Road to Indy category mixed in will make for a good event at the racy track in Newton. Plus, we imagine the night race will be nothing but a positive for the gate.
What this does to the rest of the schedule remains to be seen.This could move the Houston doubleheader to the weekend of June 20-22, because if Houston is the last week of June that would make for 6 races in a 4 weekend stretch from June 28 to July 20.
However, if Houston settles into the June 20-22 date, then that creates two weeks between Texas and Houston. Will that create two conflicting events in markets close to each other, or are Houston and Fort Worth essentially different markets? I can't say for certain, but I imagine we'll hear what TMS President Eddie Gossage thinks of it before long.
10/16/13 With this morning's announcement that Milwaukee will return in 2014, we have a pretty good idea of how the IndyCar schedule will ultimately shake out. See below for our projected schedule:
March 29 and 30: St. Petersburg (Doubleheader)
April 11-13: Long Beach
April 25-27: Barber
May 10: Indianapolis Road Course
May 25: Indianapolis 500
May 31 and June 1: Detroit (Doubleheader)
June 7: Texas
June 21 or 22: Iowa (hopefully Iowa returns to a night race, as the IndyCars looks spectacular there at night, and the crowd comes out in greater numbers)
June 28 and 29: Houston (Doubleheader)
July 6: Pocono
July 19 and 20: Toronto (Doubleheader)
August 3: Mid-Ohio
August 17: Milwaukee
August 24: Sonoma
August 31: Fontana
Of note the season will end with a short oval, road course and super speedway in succession, something Hulman and Co., CEO Mark Miles has suggested would be preferable.
Also, the long stretch from early May to June has been broken up somewhat with the rumored removal of Sao Paulo and Milwaukee moving to August. As for Milwaukee, the historic venue is one IndyCar needs to keep on the calendar. However, the Saturday before Father's Day created a gruesome stretch for the team's and is a less than favorable television slot. Having that weekend off will be welcome news for the hard-working crewmen.
The Barber race will likely move off its early April-late March date to accommodate a later than usual date for St. Petersburg, and Long Beach the second weekend of April. Also, moving Barber to the late April date prevents a 4-week gap between Long Beach and the IMS road course race.
Of course, longtime AR1 readers know we have long been a proponent of ending the season by Labor Day. However, that idea is predicated on the presumption that the season begin earlier, as early as late January before the Daytona 500.
While IndyCar is beginning the season later in 2014, it seems Miles is paving the way for an international swing in February or March of 2015. AR1 has long been of the belief that IndyCar can succeed overseas with the right strategy, something Miles more than prior leaders of the sport, seems to get.