(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – There are a number of changes coming to the IndyCar series in 2019. All are guaranteed to add even more excitement and thrills to the motorsport mainstay.
In July, IndyCar announced the series return to the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Northern California on September 22, next year. The race, which will close the race season, will be the first for IndyCar since 2004. For 12 years running, the series champion hasn’t been decided until the last race on the schedule.
The IndyCar series ran at Laguna Seca starting in 1983, and the board of supervisors overseeing the facility have committed to a three-year deal to bring the race back to the 2.238-mile permanent road course near Monterey County.
“I can’t imagine a more attractive destination location for INDYCAR’s season finale,” said Mark Miles, the president and CEO of IndyCar owners Hulman and Company. “Monterey is a place people want to be, and we will bring all of our guests. I think it’s a great choice for us.”
In late July it was decided that night racing would return to Iowa Speedway in 2019. The race at the Newton, IA, oval was last held under lights four years ago and is next scheduled for July 20, 2019. This year, the daytime race was won by Canadian James Hinchcliffe.
Four of the 12 races hosted at Iowa Speedway since 2007 have been at night, the last in 2015.
Just recently announced, the IndyCar series has extended their agreement with the Texas Motor Speedway, in Forth Worth, to run through the 2022 season. The four-year agreement will include the 2019 race also being held on the night of June 8.
“IndyCar is pleased to continue its long relationship with Texas Motor Speedway, a partnership that stretches to 1997,” said Miles. “This oval track annually produces some of the most exciting racing of the season, contributes to the diversity of the schedule, and helps us continue the oval heritage of Indy car racing.”
Texas Motor Speedway has a reputation of tight, exciting racing. Three of the nine closest finishes in IndyCar history occurred at the track. TMS has hosted 30 races since 1997 and sits fourth behind the 102 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Long Beach, at 35, and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with 34.
The schedule for 2019 currently consists of 16 races at 15 venues, including a double header in Detroit on June 1 and 2. This year’s weekend on Belle Isle reportedly saw increases in visitors, social media traffic, and television viewership.
Over 105,000 fans flocked to Detroit over the three-day event while an additional 1.68 million people tuned in to coverage on ABC, making it the most watched IndyCar series stop after the Indianapolis 500. Additionally, social media terms for the Detroit Grand Prix trended nationally on Twitter and gained more new followers than any other race except the Brickyard.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the results that we’ve seen this week for the 2018 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear,” said Bud Denker, chairman of the Detroit Grand Prix. “Most importantly, it was fun and safe weekend for everyone on Belle Isle and the island looked absolutely beautiful for those who were in attendance and for the millions of fans that watched the race broadcasts on TV around the world.”