No. 976
December 12, 2018
 

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Fumes


Tuesday
Feb192008

FUMES #433

February 20, 2008

How we think a unified IRL-Champ Car open wheel schedule should look.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Detroit.
With the announcement of a unified open wheel racing series imminent, I thought it would be good time to take a serious look at what a newly-expanded Indy Racing League schedule could and possibly should look like for the teams, drivers and especially for the long-suffering fans of open wheel racing who have been subjected to the chaos of the infamous "split" from the beginning. Now, this doesn't take into account existing contracts that must be terminated or all of the myriad complications sure to ensue from the dissolution of Champ Car; it's just a reasoned look at how a unified schedule could be designed for maximum media and fan impact. So here goes...

March 30, Homestead, FL - The now-traditional IRL opener.

April 6, St. Petersburg, FL - The temporary street course road racing event stays.

April 20, Long Beach, CA - The premier open wheel race weekend west of the Mississippi moves the Honda-sponsored Twin-Ring Motegi event to later in the year.

April 27, Kansas City, Kansas - The Houston Champ Car event drops off as the circuit runs on an oval before Indy.

May 25, Indianapolis, IN - The reason open wheel racing exists in this country to begin with - the Indianapolis 500.

June 1, West Allis, WI - The traditional event after Indy comes back to the Milwaukee Mile with a full field.

June 8, Fort Worth, TX - The Texas Motor Speedway plays host to as many as 25 IndyCars.

June 22, Newton, IA - The IRL event last year was a smash success, and they can't walk away from it.

June 29, Richmond, VA - In the heart of NASCAR country, the IRL has put on a surprisingly good show at a great race track.

July 6, Watkins Glen, NY - The IRL brought back major league open wheel racing to one of America's premier circuits.

July 13, Toronto, Ontario - The unified series comes back to Toronto, replacing Nashville on the IRL schedule.

July 20, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - This Champ Car event replaces Mid-Ohio on the IRL schedule.

July 27, Portland, OR - A rejuvenated open wheel presence will help this event, and it's on the way back from Edmonton.

August 10, Elkhart Lake, WI - America's fastest race cars deserve to run on America's fastest road racing circuit. This event replaces Kentucky on the IRL schedule.

August 24, Sonoma, CA - Road racing in the wine country is a good thing.

August 31, Detroit, MI - We hate the logistical nightmare that encompasses the temporary street circuit on Belle Isle, but this series needs to be here.

September 7, Joliet, IL - This IRL oval event stays.

October, Surfers Paradise - If this event can be moved up from late October, I'd keep it.

October, Twin-Ring, Motegi - The season finale runs on Honda's home track.

That's a 19-race schedule made up of nine oval races and ten road races. Champ Car events at Houston, TX; Monterey, CA; Zolder, Belgium; Jerez, Spain; Cleveland, OH; Saint-Jovite, Canada; Assen, Netherlands and Mexico City are deleted. The IRL would lose oval events at Nashville, TN; Sparta, KY and a road racing event at Mid-Ohio.

Is it perfect? No. I would want to see the series run at Monterey, CA, and Cleveland, OH, too, for a 21-race schedule. And I would never want America's premier open wheel racing series to end its schedule overseas, it's simply nonsensical to me. But some sort of accommodation has been made to Honda, so we'll just have to wait and see what transpires.

At this point, it's just nice to actually contemplate one major league road racing series in this country for a change after years of discord and despair.

It's a revelation, as a matter of fact.


Publisher's Note: In our continuing series celebrating the "Golden Era" of American racing history, we thought our readers would enjoy another image from the Ford Racing Archives this week. - PMD

mtrsptshist_1739_HR1.jpg
(Ford Racing Archives)
Lotus-Ford Test, Indianapolis, IN, 1963. Dan Gurney poses proudly in front of his Lotus "Powered by Ford."