IndyCar eyes 20-race schedule for 2015, includes return to Brazil and possible first-ever race in Middle East

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NASCAR is reluctant to alter its schedule or expand to new venues – although to be fair, rumors persist that there could be a major shakeup in the upcoming 2015 slate.

But IndyCar officials are already thinking bigger and broader for next season – as in abroad, with a likely return to Brazil and a potential first-ever race in the Middle East.

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles and Derrick Walker, IndyCar president of operations and competition, told reporters Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway that the series will expand to 20 races in 2015, according to a report by the Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin.

Although not totally set yet, series officials hope to soon finalize plans for a race in Dubai in early February, while a return to Brazil in early March appears likely before the U.S. part of the schedule begins March 29 in St. Petersburg, Fla., Cavin reported.

Miles described talks with Dubai officials and promoters as “ongoing, positive conversations,” according to Cavin.

The race in Brazil will be held in Brasilia, a shift from IndyCar’s prior four-year run in Sao Paulo from 2010 through 2013. The tentative race date is March 8. An official announcement is expected in the next few weeks.

Dates/races in 2015 already confirmed, according to Cavin, are:

* March 29 — St. Petersburg, Fla.

* April 19 – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

* May 10 – Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis

* May 24 – Indianapolis 500

* May 30-31 — Chevrolet Indy Dual doubleheader in Detroit

Another report by Motorsport.com added that IndyCar officials are open to return to former venues at Michigan International Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway, and have had preliminary talks about racing at Nashville Superspeedway, whose pending sale to NeXovation was recently announced by parent company Dover Motorsports.

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Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool