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


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 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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Marco Andretti to drive throwback scheme to honor 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s last win

Photo courtesy Andretti-Herta Autosport
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Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).

So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.

Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.

“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.

“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”

The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.

Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.

Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago:

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