2014 Schedule Outlook

On Monday, Marshall Pruett of RACER had a quick write up on the chances Indycar goes to Ft. Lauderdale. It was insightful information but he later went on to say he expects the 2014 Indycar schedule to be released in under 30 days. That caught me a bit by surprise given last years debacle.

So, what can we expect? I am no expert and most of this is speculation, but let's try to piece it together:

The Likely Races

Well, obviously.

Long Beach
The talks have increasingly died down pertaining to Formula 1 buying the rights to the Long Beach Grand Prix, which is good news for Indycar. A return is all but guaranteed if Bernie Eccelstone decides to not go through with it.

A race that generated a lot of buzz and produced some exciting racing will surely be back in 2014 as part as the Fuzzy's Vodka Triple Crown.

The race that has slotted itself as the season finale of the Indycar Championship will likely return for 2014.

General view of the track during the IZOD IndyCar Series MAVTV 500 World Championship at the Auto Club Speedway on September 15, 2012 in Fontana, California.
Indycar had a great return to Fontana in 2012. Hopefully
something long term can be produced (Photo: Robert Laberge)

Toronto has always been a fan favorite (favourite if you're Canadian). Plus it is in Canada and those Canucks sure do love their Indycar. Remains to be see if it will remain a double header.

The race in Wine Country always generates a good crowd. Given the extensive testing that goes on there and the relationship the series has with the track, I see no reason why the series won't return.

Despite speculation that the race was in jeopardy by some media reports, it seems like Iowa will be back in 2014. All parties involved want to return in for the eighth running of the Iowa Corn 250.

Mid-Ohio will likely return barring the hail marry chance that Indycar returns to Cleveland. Mid-Ohio is a great venue for fans and drivers alike.

A race that has a lot of glamour to go along with it plus a capacity crowd should have no trouble finding its way back onto the schedule.

St. Petersburg
The inaugural race of the past couple of Indycar seasons is primed to return again. Fans love the race and drivers enjoy going there. It is even more likely to return based off the great show put on in 2013, probably the best race the city has hosted.

The Maybes 

Eddie Gossage was already unhappy that Indycar made a deal to race in Houston. He will go apeshit of Indycar adds COTA to the schedule next year. If COTA does not end up on the schedule, expect to see Texas Motor Speedway back.

Well, it's no secret that Detroit isn't in the best of shape right now. The city has just declared bankruptcy, which isn't a great sign for the region. But tweets from the Detroit GP twitter account suggest the race will not be impacted. I guess it's one of those wait and see moments.

Sao Paulo
Reports have surfaced that the race in the streets of Sao Paulo may be in jeopardy for next season. The race that generates a lot of buzz and fan support aims to only support the city, so I'm not entirely sure where their line of logic is coming. Hopefully we see the race back in 2014.

Milwaukee, a race that has an up and down tenure this past decade, continues to have a cloudy future. The one saving grace for Milwaukee is Andretti Sports Marketing. They do a fantastic job of promoting the race and getting people to show up. The race has a plausible chance of returning, but it isn't for sure.

The race that has already failed twice in CART/Champ Car looks for a fresh start with Indycar. I guess I can't make an assumption about the race until the races are held in October.

Last time Indycar was in Houston was in 2007 with Champ Car (Photo: Autoweek)

The race has been in trouble months before the first race that was held in 2011 it still apparently in trouble. I am not sure why the financials have yet to be worked out. What has been worked out is the race produces exciting on track action and draws a great crowd. Another wrench thrown into their plans is the city of Baltimore is hosting Navy vs Ohio State college football on Labor Day weekend in 2014, meaning it would be in the city's best interest to host the race on a different weekend. Let's hope Andretti Sports Marketing stays the course.

Tracks That Could Be Added

Road America
Fans and drivers everywhere have been yearning to get back to Elkhart Lake to one of the best tracks in America. The seats would be packed and the racing would be top notch. Indycar and the track need to find a compromise on a sanctioning fee.

NASCAR Nationwide has cancelled their race at Montreal (Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve), leaving the track idol for the majority of the year outside of Formula 1. The Nationwide race had a massive turnout. Now is the time for Indycar to snag the track. I am not too sure about the Canadian racing venues, but Quebec has been wanting a street race for sometime. Mosport has been an option but some think the race track may not be suited for the Indycars. The old Vancouver street circuit used by CART is no longer available, so something new would have to be done there. If there are other suggestions, I am all ears.

There are many things holding up this race from happening. A) Indycar and the track have to agree on a sanctioning fee B) A promoter needs to be found C) The biggest thing is finding a suitable date for both sides. Phoenix hosts two NASCAR races and we all know how they like to have their space. With the middle of the schedule being pretty packed every season, the Phoenix race would likely have to come early in the season or late in the season.

Ft. Lauderdale 
Andretti Sports Marketing has been hard at work evaluating the market for a race that would be held in the streets of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Ft. Lauderdale, which is on the eastern coast of Florida roughly 250 miles away from St. Petersburg, would likely be a great fit for Indycar and would also likely draw a nice crowd.

Circuit of the Americas
The state of the art facility which was completed in 2012 would be a fantastic addition to the series. The only problem is Eddie Gossage is adamant in his dislike for the addition of a third race to the series. Politics is getting in the way of Indycar snagging a blue chip track to race on. I hope something can get worked out between both sides.

Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing drives during practice for the United States Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas on November 16, 2012 in Austin, Texas.
The beautiful facility was first shown off when it hosted Formula 1 last year (Photo: Paul Gilham)

Watkins Glen
The race that disappeared from the schedule after the 2010 season would please many people if the race ended up back on the schedule on 2014. The venue is amazing. I'd say it is second to Road America for best road course in America. A lot of things have to go right for the race to come back.

If Sao Paulo does/doesn't end up back on the schedule, Indycar has been looking at a second race in the country of Brazil. If this was a dream, we'd have a race at Interlagos, where F1 races. But, that won't happen. I am not familiar with Brazilian race venues, but some who does know is looking for a second place to host an Indycar race.

Indycar is lacking ovals on the schedule. Kentucky would be a good suitor for Indycar. Crowds kept decreasing to the point of embarrassment in 2011 with a terrible crowd. But until extensive testing is done with the DW12s to verify that the cars are safe to run on 1.5 mile ovals like Las Vegas and Chicagoland, the options for ovals for Indycar to go to aren't vast. Kentucky would make for a good fit on the schedule, especially in September.

Did I miss any? Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey