IMS Approves IndyCar Road Course Race To Kick Off May Speedweeks
Indianapolis Motor Speedway already is receiving "mixed reaction" after it approved an Izod IndyCar Series road course race "to start the May 2014 activities at the track," according to a front-page piece by Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The race will be on Saturday, May 10, "to avoid a conflict with Mother’s Day." IMS has been "soliciting opinions about a race on the road course since Joie Chitwood was track president" from '04-09. Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles "began talking about a road course event" soon after taking over in December, and IndyCar "staged a road course feasibility test on Sept. 4." The yet-to-be-titled race will be "designed to provide a bugle-sounding kickoff to the month’s activities" ahead of the Indy 500. Still to be resolved "is the makeup of the circuit." F1 and Grand-Am cars "have raced clockwise on the road course," while MotoGP "has gone counterclockwise." But "regardless of the direction, modifications to the infield portion of the circuit are needed as several of the existing corners are considered too tight and slow for maximum enjoyment" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 9/27
). RACER.com's Pruett & Miller wrote the race "looks like a big gamble but when you consider most of the 240,000 permanent seats at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been empty for the past 18 years on Pole Day, how much can it hurt?" (RACER.com, 9/26
LABOR OF LOVE: The STAR's Cavin was asked if the Boston Consulting Group's proposed Labor Day end to the IndyCar's schedule was "really about the NFL, or does it have to do with NBCSN and the NASCAR Chase?" Cavin wrote, "It's largely about the football season." Cavin: "As for NASCAR, would it be the worst thing to have same-day races as often as possible? If the scheduling works out, and we’ll start to see it soon, it could be a benefit to IndyCar to be NASCAR’s lead-in or, as I’m told could happen, IndyCar could follow NASCAR next year on Sunday of Labor Day at Auto Club Speedway. To me, that’s a chance for a ratings boost. As I’ve said, I think there’s a good chance that the synergy of NBC Sports Network having three forms of motor sports is better for IndyCar than initially meets the eye" (INDYSTAR.com, 9/26).