With most if not all of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule known anyway via either track release dates, some series release dates (i.e. Road America’s return) and various media reports (USA Today, Indianapolis Star and FOXSports.com among others have come out just in the last few days), tomorrow’s projected full series schedule release promises to offer little more to add to what we already know.
What will be important to watch? Two things, if they’re revealed (and they’re expected to be): start times, and TV outlets.
This year, ABC had the usual month of May with all of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Indianapolis 500 qualifying (two days, two shows), the 99th Indianapolis 500 race and then straight into the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans doubleheader the following weekend. It also had the season-opening round in St. Petersburg.
NBCSN (or CNBC) had the remaining races, and the balance of the schedule from Texas Motor Speedway through to the season finale at Sonoma.
Some series insiders have suggested the NBCSN ratings bump this year was due in part to later start times – from Auto Club Speedway in June onwards, races topped 500,000 viewers and the Mid-Ohio CNBC race, later replayed on NBCSN with a NASCAR lead-in, brought that race’s combined total north of 600,000.
The NASCAR effect has obviously helped, too, with vigorous cross promotion of IndyCar content during NASCAR races, and vice versa.
With the Summer Olympics in Rio next August, it creates something of a headache for non-Olympics properties airing across the NBC networks. F1’s on its summer break for most of the month and so too will IndyCar; NASCAR, meanwhile will work around the conflicts when its schedule is released.
So here’s the expected dates for 2016, gathered from previous announced dates and other media reports.
The key for IndyCar’s actual release is TV and the times you’ll be seeing these races, rather than any drama about where they’ll be racing:
- March 13, St. Petersburg
- April 2, Phoenix
- April 17, Long Beach
- April 24, Barber
- May 14, Indianapolis GP
- May 21-22, Indianapolis 500 qualifying
- May 29, Indianapolis 500
- June 4-5, Detroit (2 races)
- June 11, Texas
- June 26, Road America
- July 9, Iowa
- July 17, Toronto
- July 31, Mid-Ohio
- August 21, Pocono
- Sept. 4, Boston
- Sept. 18, Sonoma