The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Pocono Raceway for its fourth straight year next weekend, Aug. 20-21.
And there now will be at least two more races to come as the sanctioning body and racetrack officials announced Wednesday morning a two-year contract extension to continue holding IndyCar races at the 2.5-mile Tricky Triangle through 2018.
The exact race dates for both upcoming seasons are still to be determined.
“We are thrilled to share this great news that we will host the Verizon IndyCar Series through 2018,” Pocono Raceway president Brandon Igdalsky said in a statement. “Our track was originally designed for open-wheel cars and our fans really enjoy the action on the track.
“When you see these cars going six- and seven-wide it is incredible. We also received positive feedback from teams and drivers and worked together with IndyCar to make sure Pocono Raceway stays on the schedule.”
The IndyCar Series has raced at Pocono since 2013. Winners to date have been Scott Dixon (2013), Juan Pablo Montoya (2014) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2015).
Pocono previously hosted the CART Series from 1980 through 1989, with the exception of 1981.
“We’re thrilled to announce today’s two-year extension with Pocono Raceway – an iconic oval track with a long history of hosting great open-wheel racing events,” said Jay Frye, Verizon IndyCar Series President of Competition and Operations. “It’s very clear that Pocono is one of the favorites amongst the drivers, teams and fans of the Verizon IndyCar Series and we look forward to competing there for the foreseeable future.”
Several other notables also chimed in on the contract extension:
Team owner Roger Penske: “Pocono has been a terrific track for IndyCar racing and I think the teams, the sponsors and the fans have really enjoyed an entertaining show there since the series returned a few years ago. Team Penske has certainly produced some special moments at Pocono and we are looking forward to creating some more memories at the track in the future.”
Graham Rahal: “This is great news. We all love coming here. This place is one of the most entertaining and interesting ovals we go to and one of the most interesting tracks we go to period. And one of the most demanding. It’s three corners that have nothing in common and it’s difficult to make it work. It’s a lot of fun.”
Charlie Kimball: “This is great news. The Verizon IndyCar Series prides itself on having the most versatile drivers because we race on so many different tracks. Pocono Raceway is unique in that it’s 2.5 miles and has three corners. It really is unique and unlike anywhere else we race. I think it’s great that we can keep Pocono Raceway on the schedule and fans can mark their calendars and book their vacations and come out to the raceway. It’s a great event and IndyCar racing here is always spectacular.”
Tony Kanaan: “I think this is great. I am a big fan of this racetrack and consistency on the schedule is extremely important so I am all for it.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay: “The on track show, the product we put on here last year was phenomenal. Lead changes throughout the race, six-wide throughout the straights, passing throughout the field, you couldn’t ask for a better product and hopefully we can do it again for the fans.”
Marco Andretti: “This is my home track so selfishly this is great news. There is a great long history of racing here at Pocono Raceway and I am excited we will continue to come back. I think our cars were made for this track. Trying to find the balance between turn one and turn three it will be a tremendous challenge.”
Scott Dixon: “That sounds fantastic. Pocono Raceway needs to be a place we visit each year and to build on the product we need to come here for a while. We need some longevity here.”