The 2012 IndyCar schedule is less than impressive. It doesn’t have anything that the average fan wants. I mean this, no history (other than Indy and Long Beach), and very few ovals. Remember when the series was all ovals. Well, that was under Tony George’s guidance. Since George left in 2009, the schedule has gone from a fairly balanced schedule to an unbalanced schedule. I know I’ve been kind of stupid in writing all these fantasy schedule articles but NOW is the time to get down to business in trying to get a good schedule. I don’t think any of this is Randy Bernard’s fault at all when he was introduced as IndyCar’s new CEO in 2010 he was left with a schedule that was already set and stone. In 2011, he added Las Vegas, Loudon, Milwaukee and Baltimore. Milwaukee was down on attendance. Loudon was the same. Obviously Vegas with Dan Wheldon’s passing. Baltimore was very successful. So it’s not an oh, Randy’s not trying type of question. He got stuck this year because of the safety of the 1.5 mile tracks in announcing this year’s schedule. He made a very smart decision last year in cutting Japan but then why would they go over to China in August? This is my thought; China has a ton of money and that’s what Randy wants. I think that is a great philosophy. He brought back Detroit, although it’s not that great of a track, it still has a lot of feeling in IndyCar’s history.
Some of the tracks Randy has thrown around are:
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida- street course
- Road America-road course
- Laguna Seca-road course
- Quebec City, Canada-street course
- Cleveland-airport course
- Houston-street course
- Porto Alegre, Brazil-street course
- Qatar-street course
- Mexico City- road course
- Watkins Glen-road course
Fort Lauderdale: This race is targeted to debut in 2013, to me this race makes zero sense. Yes, you have the sponsors but you already have a good race that makes money in south Florida (St. Petersburg). If you add this race it won’t make much sense at all. It’ll be a bust.
Chicagoland: Chicagoland last had an IndyCar race in 2010. It was a major race on the schedule for years, but in 2011 ISC (NASCAR) decided to dump it. The race needs to be back.
Charlotte: The one and only time IndyCar raced there it was a disaster. Don’t go back!!
Road America: This is a legendary track for IndyCar and racing in general. If a struggling series (ChampCar) can keep that race going, I don’t see any problem with IndyCar running it.
Laguna Seca: The track is just like Road America on the history side but on the racing side its terrible, the track is way too tight its just like Barber, Infineon and Mid-Ohio. That track is great for motorcycles but not IndyCar’s. For all means, if you want to sleep for two and a half hours please watch an IndyCar/ChampCar race at Laguna.
Quebec City: Unlike Laguna Seca and Fort Lauderdale, this race makes sense for two reasons. First reason, Canada is huge. Two races isn’t enough for Canada. Canada is bigger then the United States of America. That explains a lot. Second reason is that rumor has it that the track is supposed to be just like Formula One’s Monte Carlo street circuit in Monaco. That is a great track, so if IndyCar can get a race up there that’s a huge success.
Cleveland: The mid-summer IndyCar classic needs to return. Just like Road America if a dying series can keep it alive why can’t IndyCar?
Houston: ChampCar went there for two years (2006 and 2007). The track sucks! But it does make sense to go there.
Porto Alegre: Just like my arguement for Canada, Brazil needs the same thing. The Sao Paulo street circuit is already a hit with the fans down there and the addition of Rubens Barrichello only helps that chance.
Qatar: All I say is NO!
Mexico City: Yes, yes, yes! ChampCar has had great races down there. Same arguement for Canada and Brazil with Mexico. Great track in Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Watkins Glen: In my opinion is one of the top road courses in North America, great market (northeast) and a great market.
Phoenix: Please bring this track back Randy! Its the roots of IndyCar!!
Some tracks that aren’t on that list that I would add are:
Michigan: Same as Phoenix
Surfers Paradise: Even if it seems like I’m Asia bias, I’m not. I’m saying its a waste of money. Go to Surfers Paradise, Australia at the end of the season as an Non-Championship event in late November or early December.
Portland: The great track in the northwest needs to comeback! CCWS raced there from 1984 to 2007, the race was a huge success out there. Growing the market out west is really important.
Richmond: They have held IndyCar races before and had good attendance and racing.
Kentucky: Bring it back great racing!
Loudon: Same as Kentucky!
Walt Disney: Please bring back the first ever race of the series, great little track.
We are going to say this happens in 2014, Randy Bernard’s last year as IndyCar’s CEO (as of this moment). Randy wants a 50-50 split with about 24 to 28 races. He hasn’t ruled out the possibility of starting before the Daytona 500. I think 24 is a good number to start this plan because it is right in Randy’s target area.
This is what we know:
LOCKS:Indy, Long Beach, Sao Paulo (3)
KEEP: Texas, Iowa, Milwaukee, St. Petersburg, Fontana, Toronto, Edmonton and Baltimore (8)
DROP: Belle Isle, Barber, Mid-Ohio, China and Infineon (5)
ADD: Chicagoland, Road America, Quebec, Cleveland,Watkins Glen, Phoenix, Portland, Richmond, Loudon, Kentucky and Michigan,Houston and Walt Disney. (13)
It is very important to have the schedule economically friendly also. So connecting races is kind of important. Then a two week break then pick it back up.
The only way IndyCar is going to succeed is if you get a good TV contract in place (NBCSN) and have good promoters (ISC, SMI, Andretti). Randy has money but he can’t do it by himself. Its up to us as fans to help Randy deliver his promises.
Plus, at some of the ovals, do the one day show, it saves money on the sanctioning fee and gives more for the fan to see throughout the day. On the road and street course events, its important to have American LeMans, IndyLights, Star Mazda, Grand-Am and USF2000 with you because just like the ovals, more for the fan to see throughout the weekend.
Targeted schedule should be:
Streets of St. Petersburg- 1.8 mile street course- February , 23
Walt Disney World- 1 mile oval- March, 1
Streets of Houston, Texas- 1.7 mile parking lot course- March, 8
Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil- 2.6 mile street course- March, 15
Richmond International Raceway- 0.75 mile oval- March, 22 (NR)
Streets of Long Beach, California- 1.96 mile street circuit- April, 6
Phoenix International Raceway- 1 mile oval- April, 12 (NR)
Portland International Raceway- 1.9 mile road course- April, 20
Indianapolis 500- 2.5 mile oval- May, 25
Texas Motor Speedway- 1.5 mile oval- May, 31 (NR)
Iowa Speedway- 0.8 mile oval- June, 7 (NR)
Milwaukee Mile- 1 mile oval- June, 14 (NR)
Watkins Glen International- 3.3 mile road course- June, 29
Burke Lakefront Airport (Cleveland)- 2.1 mile street course- July,6
Streets of Toronto, Canada – 1.7 mile street course- July,13
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez- 2.77 mile road course- July, 20
Edmonton City Centre Airport- 2.2 mile airport course- July, 27
Chicagoland Speedway- 1.5 mile oval- August, 9 (NR)
Kentucky Speedway- 1.5 mile oval- August, 16 (NR)
Road America- 4 mile road course- August, 24
Streets of Baltimore, Maryland- 2 mile street course- September, 7
New Hampshire- 1 mile oval- September, 13 (NR)
Michigan International Speedway- 2 mile oval- September 20 (NR)
Auto Club Speedway- 2 mile oval- September, 27 (NR)
Surfers Paradise- 2.7 mile street circuit- October, 25 (NC).
Hopefully Randy Bernard can get this going as soon as he possibly can. Remember, this isn’t all his fault.