By Mike Kitchel
(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – INDYCAR has announced the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule featuring 17 race events, two new race venues, and a total of six ABC and 13 NBCSN event broadcasts. The diverse calendar of events, which features six ovals, six road courses, and four temporary street circuits, includes a total of 13 markets making a return to the calendar from 2014.
“The Verizon IndyCar Series calendar represents another step forward in our strategy to grow the series,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “There were several factors that led to the positive momentum we experienced in 2014 and we will continue to execute on those initiatives – continuity in our broadcast schedule, strategic growth of our schedule and improvements to how we promote our events. The continued support from our television partners at ABC and NBCSN, and the on-going collaboration with promoters, teams and sponsor partners gives us a lot of confidence about our future.”
The season opens with the series’ first visit to Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet in Brasília, Brazil on March 8, and will be followed on the calendar by INDYCAR’s North American opener on the Streets of St Petersburg on March 29. The debut at New Orleans’ NOLA Motorsports Park will be on April 12, and then a return to the streets of Long Beach on April 19 at the scenic Barber Motorsports Park on April 26.
“It’s great to see the Verizon IndyCar Series going back to Brazil and expanding internationally,” Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti said. “Having a presence outside of the U.S. is important for the health of the series and a necessary part of growing the visibility and awareness opportunities in our industry.”
Sonoma Raceway will host the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season finale on August 30, marking the first time an Indy car championship will end the season on a road course since the 2007 Champ Car finale at Mexico City.
“Sonoma has always been a great circuit for the Verizon IndyCar Series,” said Scott Dixon, a three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner. “People always ask what my favourite track is and I often say ‘the last one I won at’ so it’s perfect for me and Team Target. It’s a very technical and challenging track and the site of the biggest Target weekend each season from a partnership perspective.”
The month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will kick-off again with the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9, and will be followed by Indy 500 qualifications from May 16 to 17, before the month culminates on Memorial Day weekend with the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 24, on the famed 2.5-mile oval. Carb Day activities on May 22 will be broadcast live by NBCSN.
Pocono Raceway returns to the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule on August 23, at the tail-end of four oval races that are highlighted by a return to Auto Club Speedway on June 27, as well as short oval events at the Milwaukee Mile on July 12, and Iowa Speedway on July 18.
“Returning to Pocono in 2015 is great news,” said Tony Kanaan, 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and former Indianapolis 500 winner. “The ‘Tricky Triangle’ is a very challenging racetrack for us and it provides great racing and excitement for the fans. Continuity is the key word to rebuild our fan base for that region and INDYCAR and Pocono are working very hard and thankfully making it happen. I’m obviously happy to be able to return in 2015 and finish the strong race we had in 2014.”
The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix returns as a doubleheader event from May 30 to 31, and is followed on the calendar by a night race at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6. The race at Streets of Toronto has moved to June 14 to accommodate the Pan American Games, and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 2 returns to its familiar date on the calendar.
All races will be broadcast on radio by the IMS Radio Network through its affiliates, including SiriusXM Satellite Radio.