2015 IndyCar schedule due out Thursday, and could Dubai be on?

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It’s the story that needs to drop for planning purposes across several championships in 2015: it’s the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.

Derrick Walker, IndyCar’s president of competition and operations, has told MotorSportsTalk and other media outlets the plan is to have the schedule out by the end of the month, we now have a specific day planned.

Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star reported in his Q&A this morning the schedule will be announced Thursday, August 30. That adds up for the end of the month. An IndyCar spokesperson confirmed the schedule release date of Thursday.

Of note, Auto Club Speedway has indicated a public unhappiness for its 2014 Labor Day weekend date; Andretti Sports Marketing president John Lopes told me of Milwaukee that he didn’t see date equity as a problem because the event “hadn’t found the right date yet.”

Confirmed races thus far include:
3/8 Brazil
3/29 St. Petersburg
4/12 NOLA
4/19 Long Beach
4/26 Barber
5/9 GP Indy
5/24 Indy 500
5/30-31 Detroit
6/6 Texas (Sat. night)
8/2 Mid-Ohio
8/30 Sonoma

Races currently without officially confirmed dates include Pocono, Iowa, Toronto, Milwaukee and ACS. It is not anticipated that the series will add additional events beyond those either already confirmed or having been on the 2014 schedule.

DUBIOUS DUBAI? 

There is one outstanding wild card, and that is the mooted, on-again, off-again, potential international race in Dubai. Noted Twitter IndyCar link hound Matt Archuleta (@Indy44) found this nugget on, of all things, Carlos Huertas’ website.

Huertas – the unheralded, quiet Colombian rookie who won Houston race one this season – has made almost no overtones or undertones about wanting to return to IndyCar for a second season. But that Dubai date, February 22, would fall almost completely in line with the wishes and desires of Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles – head of INDYCAR’s parent company – wanting to start the season in February.

From an overall team standpoint, a Dubai race would make some sense as it would allow for some winter running and give the previously announced Brasilia, Brazil race a pairing in terms of the teams running their cars without the new-for-2015 aero kits. And it would give the crews an actual race to be at prior to March.

The one catch from an overall motors standpoint? February 22 is the Daytona 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup’s marquee race, and a day that draws more on-site media coverage than most other events.

IndyCar would essentially be resigning itself to a season opener halfway around the world, on at a poor hour for most U.S. fans (you think the kvetching at Fontana was bad? This would be worse), and with a past history of announcing international races that have often come up snake-eyes in terms of it actually happening.

I’m not sure if this is a previously stated mantra, but a good way to describe motorsports at times is: “as the money flows, so the series goes.” And one would hope the financial benefit of running a Dubai race would offset the potential poor PR or lack of media interest that could follow for a season opener on the same day when most racing fans’ eyes are fixated on Daytona.