FONTANA, Calif. – Two bits of news to report this Friday for the labyrinth that is the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.
The first is one race weekend that is confirmed not to return for 2015 (Houston) and the second is one that may well be joining the schedule (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park).
INDYCAR confirmed Friday that the Houston race weekend, which ran in October in 2013 and June of this year for doubleheader race weekends, will not be back in 2015.
Neither the series nor event officials could come to grips on a date.
“INDYCAR is thankful to Mike Lanigan and his team for all their hard work and for the tremendous support of the Grand Prix of Houston that we received from Shell, Pennzoil and Honda,” Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said in a statement. “We look forward to a continued relationship with Mi-Jack Promotions and will always keep our options open when it comes to an important market like Houston.”
Meanwhile it appears forward momentum is occurring for CTMP to make at least a one-off appearance on an IndyCar calendar.
Per the Indianapolis Star‘s Curt Cavin, Green Savoree Promotions’ proposed June 5-7 date for the Toronto street race at Exhibition Place is now off because the IndyCar race date has gone to Texas Motor Speedway that weekend.
But CTMP and Green Savoree officials are working to find a suitable date for IndyCar to race there, and still have a Canadian race weekend.
In attempting to piece the schedule together, there are several race weekends that would seem to work for a CTMP date.
The first is June 12-14, which would fall the weekend after Texas on the calendar, but would be almost completely unrealistic from a logistics and timing standpoint following the month of May, the Detroit double weekend and Texas, and a potential June 20 race at Iowa Speedway.
Another option, is during Houston’s 2014 weekend, June 26-28. That falls two weekends before the IMSA weekend at CTMP, with the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race occurring July 12.
Later in July, either on Toronto’s weekend this year could also be an option for IndyCar, following the IMSA weekend (July 17-19). The last weekend in July, July 24-26, is also feasible as it would be two weeks after.
In terms of an IMSA/IndyCar shared weekend, don’t bet on it. IMSA officials have said repeatedly they will only work with IndyCar on shared weekends when it is their only way onto the schedule. Additionally, in terms of the IMSA support content on an IMSA weekend, paddock space would be limited, and the pit lane with both sets of IndyCar/IMSA equipment would be very crowded.
The intriguing part for both races though, is that by the confirmed departure of one and the likely departure of the other (Toronto), is how IndyCar will fill the race number void.
Both Houston and Toronto were doubleheader weekends last year; it would remain to be seen whether a CTMP IndyCar race would be a doubleheader race.