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IndyCar tonight will release its '14 schedule, and the series will conclude on Aug. 30 at Auto Club Speedway, which is the "earliest IndyCar has ended a season," according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles has "targeted a Labor Day weekend finale to avoid competing with the football season." IndyCar will open March 30 "with a single race in St. Petersburg, Fla." Green Savoree Racing Promotions had "sought permission to host a doubleheader," but Miles said that "three doubleheaders in a season is sufficient." The doubleheaders are set for Detroit, Houston and Toronto. Two of this year's events missing from the '14 schedule are "street races in Sao Paulo and Baltimore." Miles said that the Brazil race "could be added later if a contract can be finalized." Miles added that for the '15 schedule, the series is "working to add a couple of international events in February." Miles: "We'd run February through August, or the beginning of September" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/17).'14 INDYCAR SCHEDULEDATE
TRACK LOCATIONMarch 30 Streets of St. Petersburg St. Petersburg, Fla.April 13 Streets of Long Beach Long Beach, Calif.April 26 Barber Motorsports Park Birmingham, Ala.May 10 Grand Prix of Indianapolis Indianapolis, Ind.May 25 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indianapolis, Ind.May 31 Raceway at Belle Isle Detroit, Mich.June 1 Raceway at Belle Isle Detroit, Mich.June 7 Texas Motor Speedway Ft. Worth, TexasJune 28 Reliant Park Houston, TexasJune 29 Reliant Park Houston, TexasJuly 6 Pocono Raceway Long Pond, Pa.July 12 Iowa Speedway Newton, IowaJuly 19 Streets of Toronto Toronto, Ont.July 20 Streets of Toronto Toronto, Ont.Aug. 3 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, OhioAug. 17 The Milwaukee Mile Milwaukee, Wisc.Aug. 24 Sonoma Raceway Sonoma, Calif.Aug. 30 Auto Club Speedway Fontana, Calif.
MILES TO GO BEFORE THEY SLEEP: In Milwaukee, Dave Kallmann notes Andretti Sports Marketing and IndyCar, which had "little presence during the Wisconsin State Fair, will now count on it as a significant marketing tool to build an event and entire series." The two announced yesterday that they would move the Milwaukee race from a June date to Aug. 17, 2014, which is "just days after the close of the fair." A two-year race title sponsorship deal with ABC Supply Co. will "provide stability to an event that had for months been on shaky ground." Miles said, "To have this event as the first of those three culminating races is really important to us. I think in years going forward, you'll see more attention being paid ... and racing here will take a more prominent role for us as we go into the future" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/17).
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: Miles yesterday said that IndyCar will "do everything possible to prevent a repeat of the accident at Houston" that injured more than a dozen people and sent driver Dario Franchitti to the hospital. He added, "They’re looking carefully at fencing and seat placement and all the things that came into play there. In a way, as much as the whole weekend didn’t unfold exactly the way we’d like it to have, the fence worked, the fans who sustained some injuries were relatively minor" (AP, 10/16). Miles said that IndyCar President of Competition & Operations Derrick Walker is "in charge of the investigation." Miles: "I wouldn't even call it an investigation; it's more of a review of what happened. Derrick and his team are looking at it to look at everything that didn't go as we wanted it to go" (USA TODAY, 10/17).
The PGA Tour's new schedule "might take a while for everyone to wrap their hands around," according to Bill Fields of GOLF WORLD. McGladrey Classic Tournament Dir Scott Reid said, "It's going to be a learning year not only for the events that are impacted but the players as well." Since the advent of the FedExCup Playoffs in '07, such an "evolution on the PGA Tour seemed inevitable because of the awkward positioning of the tournaments played as the 'Fall Series' after the Tour Championship." Although Commissioner Tim Finchem "contends of the former Fall Series events that 'we wouldn't have lost them,' their sponsors weren't keen about the old, diminished arrangement." Golfer Nick Watney said, "It needed to be done to save those tournaments." Fields notes what Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Tournament Dir Adam Sperling and other former fall events "can't control is which players will show up." There are 45 tournaments on the new schedule and "many golfers don't play in much more than half of them." The tour's elite, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, "competes less frequently than that, and rarely at new locations." Watney said, "They want more of the top players to play in the fall events, but I don't know if (the new calendar) is going to do that." For upper-tier players, what is "likely getting their attention is not the front end of the new season but the back." In '14, the four FedExCup Playoff events will be "held in successive weeks instead of including a week off as has been the case for four of the last six years." There will then be "a one-week break between the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup." Golfer Henrik Stenson said, "That will potentially make one of the guys leave one of the playoff events off his schedule" (GOLF WORLD, 10/21 issue).
A GOOD WALK SPOILED? ESPN.com's Bob Harig wrote, "A new PGA Tour season is underway and Tiger Woods is not exactly sure what to make of it." Woods on Tuesday said, "For me, I'm still wrapping my head around it. ... I think it's going to take a little bit of time to get accustomed to. Some of the guys are playing in the local areas ... some are going overseas. This is something that is very different to us in our sport. Other sports it's the norm." Woods added, "The whole idea of ending the season earlier was to give us a break. ... It's going to be interesting to find our break time now with this scheduling" (ESPN.com, 10/15).
VEGAS, BABY: In Las Vegas, Steve Carp noted this year's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is "proving to have one of its strongest fields in years," with six players who "have won majors, six who are in the top 50 in the World Golf rankings, six who participated in the recent President's Cup and 23 who have won on Tour in the past two years." It "didn't hurt having an upgraded purse" of $6M, with the winner earning $1.8M (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/14).
AVP Owner Donald Sun has "plans to expand the AVP presence beyond coastal communities," but he "wants to make sure not to ignore the sport's roots," according to Jeremy Balan of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Sun has "expressed interest" in holding events in Texas, Chicago and N.Y. However, he said, "It's important to come to the places with history, like Manhattan Beach and Huntington Beach. SoCal is where beach volleyball originated. (Bringing the tour back to Orange County) is for the fans and for the reverence of the sport itself." The AVP this season has "expanded to seven locations (including traditional sites like Manhattan Beach and Santa Barbara, as well as a less-than-traditional stop in Salt Lake City)," with this week's AVP Beach Volleyball Championships in Huntington Beach as the tour finale. The event will be "the first major AVP tournament in Orange County" since it went bankrupt in October '10. Traditional venues like Huntington Beach "will be integral for the AVP, which is still rebuilding." Player April Ross said, "It is so unfortunate that the AVP name is associated with what happened back then" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/17).