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Iowa confirms IndyCar on same July weekend in 2018

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As it has been in both 2016 and 2017, the Iowa Speedway date for the Verizon IndyCar Series has been confirmed on the same weekend in mid-July – thus adding another date to the 2018 IndyCar calendar before the series releases the schedule in full. Iowa Speedway released its 2018 calendar today.

IndyCar’s Iowa Corn 300 will run Sunday afternoon, July 8, with the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race earlier in the day.

Start times were not released by the track and are usually released by IndyCar either in its full schedule release, or as part of a separate TV schedule release.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series runs Saturday night, July 7, with its 400-mile race from Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR usually runs this race on network NBC. The last two years, Kentucky Speedway has hosted the NASCAR races on Iowa’s IndyCar weekend.

That keeps IndyCar in the Sunday afternoon slot for a third consecutive year, rather than being a Saturday night race as it was in 2014 and 2015.

Noteworthy here is that the two other Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires series – Pro Mazda and USF2000 – aren’t listed by the track, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be added later. Pro Mazda scrapped a 2016 race at Iowa owing to expected lower car count while USF2000 ran its only oval race of 2017 at Iowa.

Although INDYCAR is yet to release its full schedule, many of its dates have been posted by the tracks themselves.

The lone holdup to the schedule appears to be a planned additional race in Mexico City, which INDYCAR hopes to finalize in the next couple weeks, and wants to slot in in the two-week gap between Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at the end of July and Pocono Raceway the third weekend in August.

The dates that haven’t been revealed as yet – Green Savoree Racing Promotions’ remaining two races in Toronto and Mid-Ohio, plus the Pocono, Gateway and Watkins Glen races – are expected to keep their same dates as in 2017. Pocono and Gateway were pleasant surprises from an attendance standpoint while Watkins Glen’s was disappointing by most measures.

Announced 2018 IndyCar dates so far:

  • March 11, St. Petersburg
  • April 7, Phoenix
  • April 15, Long Beach
  • April 22, Barber
  • May 12, INDYCAR Grand Prix
  • May 27, Indianapolis 500
  • June 2-3, Detroit doubleheader
  • June 9, Texas
  • June 24, Road America
  • July 8, Iowa
  • Sept. 16, Sonoma

Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.