After initially announcing the race was canceled, IndyCar and Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg organizers apparently will reschedule the race as the 2020 season finale.
In a release announcing the rescheduling of the Indianapolis 500 to Aug. 23, a copy of the revised schedule for 2020 listed “Streets of St. Petersburg” as “TBD Expected Finale.”
St. Pete would replace Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California, which played host to the championship finale last year for the first time in two decades. This year’s race at Laguna Seca remains on Sept. 20.
The new schedule also lists new dates for Mid-Ohio (Aug. 9), Gateway (Aug. 30) and Portland (Sept. 13), mostly to accommodate moving the Indy 500 out of May for the first time ever.
There also are no dates listed for the Circuit of the Americas and Barber Motorsports Park, effectively canceling those races.
During a March 12 news conference in St. Petersburg, Mark Miles and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman had cast serious doubt on the likelihood of rescheduling the street race, whose course of concrete barriers and catchfencing takes several weeks to construct.
“From a series point of view, that would be very difficult,” said Miles, who is the CEO of the company that runs IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Nobody knows what the next several weeks or months are going to look like. You have multiple considerations. We’ve built a track. It’s tough to build it twice. There are television considerations. It would be highly unlikely to reschedule this.”
During a conference call Thursday, Miles said the support of Kriseman had made the logistics possible for returning to St. Petersburg — possibly with a date at the beginning of October or slightly later for the new season finale.
“I’ve spoken to the mayor at least twice in the last three days,” Miles said. “He’s an IndyCar fan. He’s a true believer in the value of a race at St. Petersburg for his community.
“They just never gave up. They’re making some arrangements that make it more feasible logistically. I think they’ll try to keep up some of their stands, not completely reset as I thought they might have had to. The key was their persistence and their appreciation for what (the race) brings to them.
“It’s just such a superb event to be in South Florida to start the season every year. In this case, we’ll be doing it to end the year. We’ll be back to open the season in March 2021. We think that’s special.”
In a release Thursday from the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg stated, “IndyCar announced earlier today that the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is expected to be rescheduled for later in 2020. The event was originally set for March 13-15, 2020. This shift to a later date is in support of the NTT IndyCar SERIES’ efforts to run as many of its points championship races as possible in 2020 and would be expected to serve as the season finale round.
“The rescheduled date is subject to the ongoing guidance and mandates of national, state and local authorities regarding public gatherings. The health and safety of all associated with this event will remain the priority of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Previously purchased tickets to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg would be valid and honored on the rescheduled date yet to be determined.”
Here is the updated 2020 IndyCar schedule as listed in a release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
Saturday, May 30
Streets of Detroit Race 1
Sunday, May 31
Streets of Detroit Race 2
Saturday, June 6
Texas Motor Speedway
Sunday, June 21
Saturday, June 27
Saturday, July 4
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
Sunday, July 12
Streets of Toronto
Saturday, July 18
Sunday, Aug. 9
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Sunday, Aug. 23
Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
Sunday, Aug. 30
World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway
Sunday, Sept. 13
Portland International Raceway
Sunday, Sept. 20
WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca
TBD expected finale
Streets of St. Petersburg