Today the Verizon IndyCar Series announced the 2017 schedule, which features all of the same venues from this season, and the addition of Gateway Motorsports Park. The phrase “17 in 17” fits very nicely, as there are 17 events on the calendar for next season. It’s fantastic to not only see the return of Gateway, Watkins Glen, Road America, and Phoenix, but even better that none of the venues on this year’s schedule are missing from 2017. That consistency and building of relationships is something that will make IndyCar even stronger.
Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar’s parent company Hulman & Co., stressed that continuity was key for moving forward. “The release of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule continues to build upon the success IndyCar has experienced the last three years and establishes continuity and consistency in our event calendar.”
The 17-race season stretches over seven months, beginning with the season-opener on the streets of St Petersburg on March 12. The traditional trip to the west coast at Long Beach on April 9 marks the second round of the 2017 campaign. Two weeks later the series visits Barber Motorsports Park before heading back to Phoenix for a night race on April 29.
The Month of May at Indianapolis kicks off with the Grand Prix of Indy on May 13, followed by practice for the Indianapolis 500. The 101st Running of the Indy 500 will take place on May 28 next year. Shortly after the month wraps up, the series heads north to Detroit for a pair of races on June 3 and June 4. Less than a week later, IndyCar returns to Texas Motor Speedway, for the June 10 night race. Road America is always a fantastic event, as was the case this year when the open wheel cars made their return to the scenic road course. That event at Elkhart Lake will be run on June 25, and the bull ring at Iowa is set for July 9, which will not be a night race.
Next, IndyCar will head north of the border, for the annual street race in Toronto, Canada on July 16. Two weeks later, they will be back at Mid-Ohio, which is always an entertaining race. There will be a three-week break after that before the cars return to action at Pocono on August 20. Then comes the return to Gateway, where the open wheel cars haven’t raced since 2003. This will be the third and final night race on the schedule, which is set for August 26 next year.
Watkins Glen is a place everyone loves, and for good reason. After making a return to the famous road course next weekend, the track announced today a multi-year contract with IndyCar. The race at the Glen next year will once again be Labor Day Weekend, September 3. Finally, the season will once again come to a close at Sonoma, on September 17.
The Verizon IndyCar Series is known for being the most diverse racing series out there, and this schedule proves it once again. There are six ovals, six road courses, and five street circuits.
As for 2016, the teams and drivers will soon head back to Texas Motor Speedway for the conclusion of the Firestone 600 this Saturday night (9 PM ET on NBC Sports Network). After that, there will be just two events remaining (Watkins Glen and Sonoma) to decide the championship. That battle is between teammates, Penske drivers Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. Pagenaud is clinging to a 20-point lead over the 2014 champion heading into this weekend’s race at Texas.