A blockbuster new finale which changed locations before it even happened, a $1million non-championship race and the fan-demanded return of a classic oval headline this year’s IndyCar calendar.
The increasingly-popular Nashville round is hosted in one of America’s burgeoning tourism hot-spots, but a plan to move slightly but keep its city centre street race ultimately failed as a re-jigged organising group elected to instead move the race to the Nashville oval used by NASCAR.
The site of last year’s pre-season test, the super-exclusive Thermal Club, hosts a non-championship race to break up the gap between races one and two where the cancelled Texas oval race would have been, while former season finale venue Laguna Seca moves to a new June date.
Milwaukee’s short oval returns and there’s plenty of excitement for a double-header, which should set up a nice title fight as the penultimate round before Nashville - which now makes for a three-race oval run-in to conclude the campaign.
Of course, the Indy 500 takes its usual spot on the last weekend in May, which sadly follows the familiar trend of clashing with the Monaco Grand Prix, while a very quiet month from late-July to mid-August is down to a gap where TV partner NBC will dedicate almost its entire coverage to the Olympic Games, which has caused some of the aforementioned calendar shuffles.
Here's the full calendar with dates.
St Petersburg (street course) March 8-10
Thermal Club (road course) March 22-24
Long Beach (street course) April 19-21
Barber Motorsports Park (road course) April 26-28
Indianapolis road course May 10-11
Indy 500 (oval) May 26
Practice: May 14-17
Qualifying: May 18-19