Phoenix 2018 IndyCar date revealed as April 13-14

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The Verizon IndyCar Series’ trip to Phoenix International Raceway will have its third date in April in as many years in 2018, as revealed in paperwork filed with International Speedway Corp.’s 2016 Annual Report. The spring 2018 race dates were listed as part of Phoenix’ wider plans for track changes, including a move of the Start/Finish line past Turn 2 (more here from NASCAR Talk).

After running on April 2 for the series’ return for the first time in 11 years in 2016, the date shifts to April 29 this year, in part due to the NCAA Men’s Final Four which takes place in Phoenix on the first weekend of April this year. Easter this year is April 16.

In 2018, Phoenix will run April 13-14, on the third weekend of the month, with another Saturday race. April 1 is Easter Sunday in 2018.

With Long Beach moving up in April for 2017 to the April 7-9 weekend, one weekend ahead of Easter and three ahead of Phoenix, it may occur in 2018 that for the first time Phoenix and Long Beach would actually be on back-to-back weekends.

If Long Beach was to keep the same weekend in 2018, that’d be April 6-8, and thus one weekend ahead of Phoenix, which would make it easier for all series participants from a logistical standpoint.

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.”