The full 2020 schedule for the NTT IndyCar Series was unveiled today, just minutes before the penultimate race at Portland. There were no major surprises, but there were quite a few details that were confirmed. The biggest note was that Richmond is back on the schedule and will replace Pocono. The short oval in Virginia will be the 11th race on the schedule and will be a Saturday night race under the lights.
Both COTA and Mid-Ohio moved dates, as NBC prepares for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. There will only be one off-weekend before the final two races of the season, which is a big improvement from this year. With the absence of Pocono, the Indianapolis 500 will be the only 500-mile race of the season. The last time the series had just one 500-mile race was the 2011 season. The full press release from today is below.
[NTT IndyCar Series Press Release]
The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series schedule is highlighted by a return to Richmond Raceway and eight of the 17 races featured on NBC, IndyCar officials announced today.
Richmond Raceway will return to the NTT IndyCar Series schedule for the first time since 2009 and will be the only new addition on the 2020 schedule. The three-quarter-mile Virginia oval will play host under the lights on Saturday, June 27, and be the 11th race on the season.
“We are pleased to return to the Mid-Atlantic region, one we know to be full of IndyCar fans,” IndyCar CEO Mark Miles said. “We’re also excited to return to historic Richmond Raceway, which was recently reimagined with a $30 million redevelopment project that modernized the infield for a better fan experience.”
The two-day race weekend will fall on the same weekend utilized for the previous nine NTT IndyCar Series races at Richmond dating back to 2001.
“Richmond Raceway’s history in motorsports dates back to 1946 when the track hosted two AAA Championship Car events,” Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier said. “After hosting IndyCar from 2001-2009, we now look forward to the return of the NTT IndyCar Series for our fans at America’s Premier Short Track as part of a Mid-Atlantic festival of speed on June 26-27, 2020.”
The 2020 season marks the second full season with the NBC Sports Group, which will air the races live on NBC and NBCSN in addition to programming on NBC Sports Gold. The coverage will feature eight races on NBC, including a crescendo to the finish and NTT P1 Award qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. The remaining nine races will air on NBCSN.
For the 10th consecutive year, the NTT IndyCar Series season will kick off on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, on Sunday, March 15. The opener on the scenic waterfront 1.8-mile temporary street circuit in the Gulf Coast city first hosted Indy cars in 2003 and has continuously since 2005.
The season will conclude for the second consecutive year at the historic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca road course, where the championship-deciding race will be held Sunday, Sept. 20 – again on NBC.
Other nuances to the schedule:
- The Circuit of The Americas race, which was the second race of this season, will move to the fourth slot and be held Sunday, April 26.
- After running the oval race at Iowa Speedway (Saturday, July 18), the series will have a three-week break as NBC and NBCSN focus on televising the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
- The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course returns to one of its traditional weekends, moving from Sunday, July 28, this season to Sunday, Aug. 16, next year. This will begin NBC’s crescendo to the finale, with three of the final four races on network television (Mid-Ohio, Portland and Laguna Seca).
- The break between the final two races of the season will be reduced from two weeks to one. The Grand Prix of Portland will be held Sunday, Sept. 6, while the Monterey race is set for Sunday, Sept. 20. Both will air on NBC.
The NTT IndyCar Series showcases a diversity of tracks with a schedule comprised of seven held on permanent road courses, five on temporary street circuits and five on oval tracks.
- The centerpiece of the schedule will be the Month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, featuring the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24. The month will open with the IndyCar Grand Prix on the speedway’s 2.439-mile road course on Saturday, May 9. Qualifying for the 500 is set for Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17.
- The street race in Long Beach (Sunday, April 19) returns in April for a 37th consecutive year, which is second only to the Indianapolis 500 for most years in succession of Indy car races on the current schedule. Toronto’s Exhibition Place, another tenured event on the schedule, returns for a 36th year with its race on Sunday, July 12.
- After celebrating its 10th IndyCar race earlier this year, Barber Motorsports Park will host the NTT IndyCar Series on Sunday, April 5.
- The Raceway at Belle Isle Park will host a doubleheader for the eighth consecutive year (Saturday-Sunday, May 30-31), both of which will be televised on NBC.
- Texas Motor Speedway continues its tradition dating to 1997 of hosting a Saturday night summer race (June 6). In addition to Richmond, the NTT IndyCar Series will race Saturday night at Iowa Speedway (July 18) and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Aug. 22).
- Road America again offers the season’s largest track at 4.048 miles, with the race set for Sunday, June 21, on NBC.
Broadcast times will be announced at a later date, but all track activity and additional exclusive content will be available on NBC Sports Gold, the direct-to-consumer product that brings subscribers closer to the NTT IndyCar Series than ever before.