IndyCar changes its schedule again and eliminates West Coast events
Wednesday, July 29, 2020 by Julie Bouchard
In ten days, the IndyCar series will resume its activities on the track, after a three-week break. The next event will take place on the Mid-Ohio road circuit and will consist of two rounds, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday. After Mid-Ohio, the Indianapolis 500 will take place two weeks later (August 23) before a new double program initially not scheduled, this time on the oval of Madison, Illinois.
The addition of these two double programs, where spectators will be admitted without restriction of number, in addition to a third at the beginning of October on the Indianapolis road circuit (the first race on Friday October 2 and the second on Saturday 3), replaces the appointments scheduled on the west coast in September, on the circuits of Portland (Oregon) and Laguna Seca (California).
IndyCar championship organizers say they have made the decision to cancel events at Portland International Raceway and the Laguna Seca double weekend (pictured above, Scott Dixon during the 2019 race at this circuit) in due to the coronavirus pandemic. “The cancellation of these two events is a mutual decision between the series and the local promoters after consultation and regular monitoring of the situation. The series is looking forward to returning to both sites in 2021,” said IndyCar.
While fans on the west coast were of course disappointed with this decision, it was on the other hand well received by team owners because the main element that led to this new modification to the 2020 calendar of the series is not directly the health situation in Oregon and California but rather the fear of the teams to have their staff travel in large numbers by plane to the west coast.
By remaining in the central western United States for all the races between now and the end of October and the final in Florida (St-Petersburg), the IndyCar leaders have enabled the teams to reduce their operating costs and to travel their equipment by road, knowing that almost all the teams of the series are based in the Indianapolis area.
As for the idea of adding doubleheaders to the Mid-Ohio, Madison and Indianapolis events, Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corporation (the company that owns the series), says, « Our fans loved the action of the doubleheaders already presented this year at Road America and then at Iowa Speedway. We look forward to bringing them that format again at three of the most exciting tracks on the NTT IndyCar Series calendar.”
If the calendar does not change yet, the IndyCar will have had 14 races this season, including 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (3 on the road circuit and the Indy 500 on the oval). New Zealander Scott Dixon (Dallara-Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing) currently leads the 2020 championship, ahead of Penske (Dallara-Chevrolet) drivers Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden.
Two Canadians are competing in partial programs this year, Toronto’s James Hinchcliffe (Dallara-Honda of Andretti Autosport) and Dalton Kellett (Dallara-Chevrolet of AJFoyt Enterprises). Both have taken part in two of the six races held so far. Hinchcliffe is currently ranked 25th and Kellett 26th.
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