Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2014 IndyCar Schedule Update #4

No confirmed news but some more speculations on the 2014 IndyCar schedule.

1. Remember that date I threw out for Baltimore? April 27? Well that will not be the date for Baltimore because the Baltimore Orioles are scheduled to play home that weekend. The Orioles are on the road for the May 2-4 weekend, the week before the proposed IMS road course race. The Orioles are also on road July 14-28, which includes two weekend that IndyCar were off for in 2013, one of which is usually NASCAR's off weekend in the summer and the other being the Brickyard 400. So if the race moves to July in 2014, the 18-20th is more likely. One other extended road trip for the Orioles is August 15-24th, which would be the week before Sonoma. I had been putting Houston on the August 15-17th weekend but more on that in a moment. Realize Baltimore could also be on the USCR by the date is a factor. The weekend of August 15-17th in 2014 is the same weekend Grand-Am went to Kansas this year and Kansas seems likely to be on the USCR schedule although the date has not been confirmed.

2. While I have been putting Houston in August and preferably a Friday-Saturday night doubleheader, Robin Miller said in his weekly Mailbag on that he expects Houston to be in June 2014. With that being said, it adds another wrinkle to IndyCar's busiest month and considering Texas Motor Speedway's race is the second weekend in June, I would be a little surprised to see Houston move to June, unless Texas either moves from it's traditional June date or God forbid it fall off the schedule all together.

3. Iowa Speedway is having some CEO/financial problems but despite all that, they are talking about having an IndyCar/NASCAR Camping World Truck Series doubleheader in 2014. Iowa Speedway's main problem is it is over-saturated with races. Look at their schedule in 2013: Nationwide early-June, IndyCar mid/late-June, Trucks mid-July, Nationwide early-August and Trucks just ran last Sunday. They need to combine a race weekend (whether it be IndyCar and Trucks, Trucks and Nationwide or IndyCar and Nationwide) and get rid of a Nationwide and Truck races (Iowa really needs a Cup race. Regardless of how many people the place sits they should have a Cup race. Give them Dover's second date because Dover doesn't draw enough to have two events).

That aside, the question is does the Truck series move to the IndyCar weekend or does IndyCar move to the Truck weekend or do they both move to a new date? The Trucks were off the weekend IndyCar raced at Iowa in 2013. This year the July Truck race was the same day as the second Toronto IndyCar race. Could that race move back a week to NASCAR Cup Series summer break and have IndyCar join them? The problem with moving that race back would be pushing it to only four or five days before the Eldora Truck race and the teams may need more time than that to get ready for that event.

4. John Dagys of is reporting the Belle Isle weekend will hold serve and return to the weekend after the Indianapolis 500 with USCR being prototypes only and will be schedule the same weekend as the Le Mans test day. Last week on Radio Le Mans Midweek Motorsport there were speculations Belle Isle would move to Labor Day weekend. Nothing has been officially confirmed on Belle Isle's place in 2014.

With all that taken to account, here is a mock 2014 IndyCar schedule:

St. Petersburg: March 22-23rd.
Barber: April 6th.
Long Beach: April 13th.
IMS Road Course: May 10th.
Indianapolis 500: May 25th.
Belle Isle: May 31-June 1st
Texas: June 7th.
Milwaukee: June 14th (unless Belle Isle moves and they take the week after Indianapolis).
Iowa: June 22nd.
Pocono: July 6th.
Toronto: July 12-13th.
Houston: July 18-19th or 19th-20th (holding out the possibility of night events due to summer heat).
Mid-Ohio: August 3rd.
Baltimore: August 17th.
Sonoma: August 24th.
Fontana: August 30-31 or September 1st (depends if it is a Saturday night, Sunday, Sunday night, Monday or Monday night).

A few concerns: 1. The month off from Long Beach to the IMS road course. I have to believe there will be a race to fill that gap. April 20th is Easter so there will be no race that weekend. April 27th and May 3rd are open. There has been no news, good or bad about São Paulo but should that race continue, those were the weekends the São Paulo race have occupied since 2011.

2. If IndyCar and the Truck Series were to run a doubleheader at Iowa and the Nationwide Series keep their early June date, I see Iowa moving to July, the weekend I currently have Houston at. If you look at the Reliant Park event calendar, the weekends open in 2014 include April 25-27th, June 27-29thmultiple weekends in July including the 18-20th and August 8-10th and 15-17th. Granted more events could be added to that calendar and there could be events scheduled for those weekends and they have yet to be announced. Shell sponsors a PGA golf tournament in April and many think they want to keep the tournament and IndyCar race apart on the schedule so April appears to be off the board. There is a June date but like I said, can't see that race is in June unless Texas Motor Speedway moves or falls off the schedule. July is interesting depending on what happens with the Iowa race. If the Iowa race stays in June, I could see Houston the weekend NASCAR is off but that could be back-to-back weeks of doubleheaders for the teams. Talk about a brutal summer for the teams.

As of now, this is the best idea I've got of the 2014 IndyCar schedule and we'll just have to continue to wait and see.