IndyCar’s Miles keen on 2016 schedule, eyes international races

(Photo courtesy IndyCar)

While three markets are gone, along with the return to two former open-wheel venues and the addition of a brand new venue, the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season shapes up quite nicely.

That’s what Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said during a Tuesday morning teleconference marking the official announcement of the 2016 race schedule.

Once again, there will be 16 races on the IndyCar calendar. Fontana, Milwaukee and New Orleans (after just one race there) have been replaced by the return to Phoenix; Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc.; and the debut of a street course race in Boston.

However, from a chronological standpoint, the season will actually stretch five weeks longer in time than 2016, including the necessity to run the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Florida, two weeks earlier due to a conflict with the Easter holiday.

Miles covered considerable ground in the nearly 45-minute press briefing. He was joined for part of the conference by reigning series champion Scott Dixon.

Here are some of the highlights from Miles’ comments:

KEEPING THE SCHEDULE AT 16 RACES: “With 16 races, we’ve hit kind of a sweet spot for the teams. We’ve got a lot of feedback that that’s a good number. And if we’re going to do 16 races, obviously we’ve made an exception with Detroit, but I think we’d be better off being in more markets. We just felt like if we can add another market, in this instance you can think of it as Boston, we think that’s a good thing.”

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500: “I think the 2016 season is really defined by the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. The IndyCar Series is all about history and there’s no better example in my mind in epic motorsports than the Indianapolis race. That event is legendary.”

ON THE ADDITION OF BOSTON TO THE SERIES SCHEDULE: “We are delighted to be able to add Boston to the 2016 schedule, particularly on the Labor Day weekend, when it gets down to crunch time for the 2016 championship.”

BUT THERE CONTINUES TO BE QUESTIONS ABOUT BOSTON DUE TO LOCAL OPPOSITION: “We understand the agreements are in place. I just don’t believe there are local impediments to doing the race there. That’s our understanding from both the city’s administration and our promoter. Before we announced it, we had seen all the work on the track, had met with folks from the convention center and Mayor’s office. There’s no big city where a street race might not create objections on the part of some people, but I think care has been taken to minimize any inconveniences in this example in Boston and I believe the city is going to embrace it.”

POSSIBILITY OF RACING IN MEXICO CITY IN 2017: “The spirits are willing but we have learned that patience is best and there’s no point in rushing a promoter. We want to make sure that any time we add an event, they have done everything necessary that it’s positioned to be a great IndyCar race. There’s no obstacle that caused it to fall over as an option or possibility, we just felt we should have more time to see if everything can definitely be in place, including TV arrangements, looking at the calendar there, making sure everything works at the track and with sponsors and the like. It’s a good open dialogue. It’s possible at this point that it could happen in ’17, but not certain. We both felt that it made sense to take our time and get it right, rather than be hasty.”

WHY DID MILWAUKEE LOSE ITS RACE DATE, AND WILL IT RETURN TO THE SCHEDULE IN THE NEAR FUTURE: “We could not find a Wisconsin promoter that we felt like could make all the pieces fit, and that’s unfortunate. We’d have liked to continue the history in Milwaukee and maybe some day we can get back. … In the end, it wasn’t any one, it was none, and that kind of made the decision for us. … Just sorry it didn’t work out this time. … I don’t feel terribly optimistic about it (a return any time soon), but darn it, the Milwaukee market ought to work for us. There’s a great tradition there. I would definitely say never say never. I mean, Phoenix and Elkhart Lake are back, and that’s definitely noteworthy in this context.”

THE PROSPECT OF INTERNATIONAL RACES ON THE SCHEDULE: “It’s a matter of time. We’ve talked about this as part of our calendar strategy since I got involved. But I want to be clear that we don’t see ourselves trying to become Formula One, where we go week-to-week and race-to-race around the globe. We see ourselves continuing fundamentally as primarily a North American-based series. But, particularly in February, we believe we will eventually identify a couple of international opportunities at the beginning of the championship calendar and that will be a great way to start the earliest part of the year. And then we’ll get back to the States like with St. Pete and in the same time frame as they are now. And then we’ll stay in North America and conclude the championship in North America.”

As for defending series champ Scott Dixon, he likes what he sees.

DIXON ON 2016 SCHEDULE: “It’s obviously, I think, a great schedule and something that has been improved from last year. And from other things on the plate, there are some exciting things in the pipeline for making the schedule even better.”

DIXON ON OPEN-WHEEL RACING’S RETURN TO BOTH PHOENIX AND ROAD AMERICA: “I’m very excited. Phoenix for me has always been a staple. … The track’s changed a little bit since we were last there in ’05. … With the changes made there, I think it’s going to be one hell of a race for us, as it definitely was for us in the past, too. Looking forward to that, it’s going to be a tough one. Nice to see an oval come up real early on the schedule. Typically, we’ve had to wait for the Indianapolis 500 for the first one. Great to see it back on the schedule. … Road America is a no-brainer. The last time I raced there was 2002. It’s just one of those legendary, old-school American tracks that we don’t get to see too often. It’s very reminiscent of Watkins Glen. I love Road America.”


* There will only be four overlaps between IndyCar races and NASCAR races, down from five in 2015. In addition, three of those four races will see IndyCar races follow NASCAR races on NBCSN.

* Half of the venues on the schedule have hosted IndyCar or its open-wheel predecessors (CART, Champ Car) for at least 25 races each.

* The season-ending race at Sonoma will be televised in prime time at 7 pm ET, as opposed to 4 pm ET this season.

* Miles said the series is looking at racing at Gateway Motorsports Park in the near future, perhaps as early as 2017.

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IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix: How to watch, start times, TV, schedules, streaming


The NTT IndyCar Series will return to the Motor City for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix but with start times in a new location for 2023.

After a 30-year run on Belle Isle, the Detroit GP has moved a few miles south to the streets of downtown on a new nine-turn, 1.645-mile circuit that runs along the Detroit River.

It’s the first time single-seater open-cockpit cars have raced on the streets of Detroit since a CART event on a 2.5-mile downtown layout from 1989-91. Formula One also raced in Detroit from 1982-88.

The reimagined Detroit Grand Prix also will play host to nightly concerts and bring in venders from across the region. Roger Penske predicts the new downtown locale will be bigger for Detroit than when the city played host to the 2006 Super Bowl.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend (all times are ET):


TV: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2023.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying.

POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.


GREEN FLAG: 3:30 p.m. ET

PRACTICE: Friday, 3 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, 9:05 a.m. (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 10 a.m. (Peacock Premium)

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l WarmupCombined

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 1:20 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

STARTING LINEUP: Alex Palou captured the first street course pole of his IndyCar career; click here for where everyone will begin Sunday’s race

RACE DISTANCE: The race is 100 laps (170 miles) on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile temporary street course in downtown Detroit.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for the first practice.

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation (Indy NXT: 150 seconds total, 15 seconds per). The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower.

FORECAST: According to, it’s expected to be 80 degrees with a 0% chance of rain.

ENTRY LIST: Click here to view the 27 drivers racing Sunday at Detroit

INDY NXT RACES: Saturday, 12:05 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 12:50 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium)

INDY NXT ENTRY LISTClick here to view the 19 drivers racing at Detroit


(All times are Eastern)

Friday, June 2

8:30-9:30 a.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

9 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

9:50-10:20 a.m.: Trans Am Series practice

11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

1-1:30 p.m.: Trans Am Series practice

1:50-2:40 p.m.: Indy NXT practice

3-4:30 p.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

4:50-5:05 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying

5:30-6 p.m.: IndyNXT qualifying (Race 1 and 2)

6-7:15 p.m.: A-Track concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7:30-8:30 p.m.: Big Boi concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Saturday, June 3

6 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

8:15-8:45 a.m.: Trans Am Series qualifying

9:05-10:05 a.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

10:35-11:35 a.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Muscle Car Challenge

12:05-1:00 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 1 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

1:15-2:45 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying, Peacock

4:10-5:50 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic (100 minutes), Peacock

5:30-7 p.m.: Z-Trip concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7-8:30 p.m.: Steve Aoki concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Sunday, June 4

7 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

10:00-10:30 a.m.: IndyCar warmup, Peacock

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Motor City Showdown

12:50-1:45 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 2 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

2:47 p.m.: IndyCar driver introductions

3:23 p.m.: Command to start engines

3:30 p.m.: Green flag for the Chevrolet Detroit Prix, presented by Lear (100 laps/170 miles), NBC


ROUND 1Marcus Ericsson wins wild opener in St. Petersburg

ROUND 2Josef Newgarden wins Texas thriller over Pato O’Ward

ROUND 3: Kyle Kirkwood breaks through for first career IndyCar victory

ROUND 4: Scott McLaughlin outduels Romain Grosjean at Barber

ROUND 5: Alex Palou dominant in GMR Grand Prix

ROUND 6: Josef Newgarden wins first Indy 500 in 12th attempt 


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