Monday, November 11, 2013

Oh The Places You'll Go

**Before I dive into the article, I would like to wish a special thank you to all Veterans. I wish you all a happy Veterans Day. Thank you doesn't do you all justice, but it is a good start, so thank you so much**

Yesterday, I wondered just where Indycar has raced in the past and how many times they have raced there, because, you know, I am such a weird and random person. Since CART began in 1979, American Open-Wheel racing has been to 68 different venues! I did the math myself. The tracks highlighted in blue are tracks that will be raced at by Indycar in 2014. Here is the full list of Indycar races at each venue between 1979-2013:

Circuit Tot
1. Milwaukee Mile 39
2. Michigan International Speedway 38
3. Indianapolis Motor Speedway 35
4. Phoenix International Raceway 32
5. Streets of Long Beach 30
6. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 29
7. Exhibition Place 28
8. Cleveland Burke Lakefront Raceway 26
9. Texas Motor Speedway 26
10. Road America 25
11. Laguna Seca 24
12. Portland International Raceway 24
13. Nazareth Speedway 20
14. Surfers Paradise Street Circuit 18
15. Belle Isle 15
16. Homestead-Miami Speedway 15
17. Streets of Vancouver 15
18. Twin Ring Motegi 14
19. Auto Club Speeway 13
20. Kentucky Speedway 12
21. Atlanta Motor Speedway 11
22. Chicagoland Speedway 10
23. Kansas Speedway 10
24. Pocono Raceway 10
25. Streets of St. Petersburg 10
26. Pikes Peak International Raceway 9
27. Richmond International Raceway 9
28. Sonoma Raceway 9
29. Watkins Glen International 9
30. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez 8
31. Edmonton City Centre Airport 8
32. Las Vegas Motor Speedway 8
33. Meadowlands Sports Complex 8
34. Nashville Speedway 8
35. Gateway International Raceway 7
36. Iowa Speedway 7
37. New Hampshire Motor Speedway 7
38. Streets of Denver 7
39. Fundidora Park 6
40. Tamiami Park 6
41. Autodromo de Jacarepagua 5
42. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 5
43. Walt Disney World Speedway 5
44. Barber Motorsports Park 4
45. Chicago Motor Speedway 4
46. Reliant Park 4
47. Streets of Houston 4
48. Streets of Sao Paulo 4
49. Lowe's Motor Speedway 3
50. Riverside International Raceway 3
51. Sanair Super Speedway 3
52. Streets of Baltimore 3
53. Streets of Detroit 3
54. Streets of San Jose 3
55. Ontario Motor Speedway  3
56. Trenton International Speedway 3
57. Caesars Palace 2
58. Dover International Speedway 2
59. Eurospeedway 2
60. Miami Bayfront Park Street Circuit 2
61. Rockingham Motor Speedway 2
62. Bicentennial Park 1
63. Brands Hatch 1
64. Circuit Mont-Tremblant 1
65. Circuit Zolder 1
66. Kalaeloa Airport 1
67. Streets of Las Vegas 1
68. TT Circuit Assen 1

So, let's start out with what pleases me about the list: I am happy to find that six of the top-ten tracks for hosting Indycar since '79 continue to host Indycar. That's good. The tracks appear to be pleased with Indycar and fans continue to go. The three that stick out are Indianapolis (duh), Long Beach, and Milwaukee. Fans keep coming, tracks keep hosting, so how can Indycar not keep coming back? I love it.

Dario Franchitti Dario Franchitti, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Dallara Honda, takes a turn during practice for the IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 16, 2010 in Long Beach, California.
Dario Franchitti races through the usual packed house at Long Beach in 2010 (Photo: Donald Miralle / Getty Images)

Now, on the contrary, tracks like Michigan, Phoenix, and Cleveland, which are all rich in Indycar history, have ceased to continue fielding races for Indycar. You want to bring back some of the old fans that have grown out of touch with Indycar? Go back to places where Indycar has been for many years. Obviously, the variables have to make sense, like financials and getting a good promoter, but let's get it done.


Take note of tracks 10, 11, 12 on the list: Road America, Laguna Seca, and Portland. Three great road courses all absent for many years. The 2007 Champ Car season was the last time both Road America and Portland  hosted a race. For Laguna Seca, it has been longer: Champ Car 2004. If Indycar is looking for some new non-street circuits to run in 2015, look no further.

CART Portland 2002. Very underrated circuit (Photo: Getty Images)

Among the 68 venues, there are ten countries represented (alphabetical): Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States. Wouldn't mind adding some new countries to that list, especially Italy.

Surfers Paradise has hosted the most Indycar races (18) outside of North American venues, followed by Twin Ring Motegi (14). The most depressing track on the list is Brands Hatch, which was only raced at once (Champ Car 2003). Such an awesome track: Relaitvely short, natural terrain road course with great passing zones and many thrilling elevation changes. A legendary track that would surely draw buzz if Indycar gave it another chance.

What do you make of the list? Which tracks standout to you in both positive and negative ways? Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey

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