Pro Mazda schedule shifts with Iowa race moved to Mazda Raceway

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires schedule has been altered slightly with late news out Tuesday that its scheduled race at Iowa Speedway has been canceled due to low car count.

A third race on the season finale weekend of Sept. 9-11 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey will be added in Iowa’s place.

At what was the only oval event of the season for Pro Mazda last month at Lucas Oil Raceway outside Indianapolis, just eight cars took the green flag. Since that point, both Garett Grist (advanced into Indy Lights) and Jake Eidson (withdrew prior to Road America) are no longer on the grid and only TJ Fischer – as a replacement for Weiron Tan – has been added to the field.

It means each of the seven remaining races for Pro Mazda, which has primarily witnessed a battle between Team Pelfrey teammates Pato O’Ward and Aaron Telitz, will be held on road and street courses. O’Ward won at Lucas Oil Raceway earlier this year; the young Mexican opened his season with six wins in the first seven races before Telitz fought back with a doubleheader sweep at Road America last weekend.

The Iowa Speedway schedule would figure to be adjusted as a result. Pro Mazda had been due to share the weekend with the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, as well as ARCA.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”