Reports: Texas says it won’t run IndyCar opener without fans

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Texas Motor Speedway is slated to open the NTT IndyCar Series’ revised 2020 season on Saturday, June 6, but the race apparently is in jeopardy if fans can’t attend.

Track president Eddie Gossage told multiple media outlets that the track would refrain from playing host to the IndyCar opener without a crowd.

“At some point we have to make a decision, but it’s not time yet,” Gossage told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Drew Davison in a story posted Thursday. “We wouldn’t consider running Indy cars without fans in the stands.”

Gossage told Motorsport.com’s David Malsher-Lopez in a Wednesday post that the track was “anticipating the race as planned … but we wouldn’t have any interest in holding an event without fans in attendance.

“The reason it is a consideration for NASCAR promoters is that the promoter receives 65 percent of the sizable TV rights fee. In IndyCar, the promoter does not receive any television rights fees. That is a basic issue that causes IndyCar, even in its best days, to not be nearly as desirable to a promoter and why you will always see a turnover in the events and schedule for IndyCar.”

IndyCar officials had no comment on the reports or whether the series had discussed holding races without fans. There have been three revisions to its 2020 schedule (the most recent coming Monday) since the onset of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

NASCAR has yet to announce a revised schedule for 2020, but president Steve Phelps said racing without fans would be considered upon its return. “Would we consider racing without fans at some point to get back racing more quickly? That’s in the consideration set,” Phelps told reporters March 17. “We’ll work with our health officials and we’re working with a number of infectious disease professionals that are going to help us through what that looks like and whether it makes sense to race without fans or have our first race be back with fans.”

During Tuesday’s “Lunch Talk Live” on NBCSN, three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin told host Mike Tirico that he thought NASCAR likely would return without fans, possibly as early as the Coca-Cola 600 weekend on May 24.

“Generally speaking, I think we would be one of the earliest sports back because there’s no contact within our sport,” Hamlin said. “Going back without fans, I think it’s probably going to be part of the realistic future in my opinion.”

Before the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was postponed, IndyCar originally had intended to run the March 15 season opener without fans. NASCAR also had planned to run races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway with empty grandstands before postponing the events.

Formula E announces Portland, Oregon as US race in 2023

Formula E Portland 2023
Andrew Ferraro / LAT Images
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The American date for the 2023 Formula E schedule will move from Brooklyn, New York to Portland, Oregon on June 24, 2023, filling the calendar at 16 rounds. This will be the first time in the nine-year history of the series that they have raced on the West Coast in only the third different city in the United States. Miami hosted one Formula E race in 2015. The series has visited the United States every season except 2020 due to the COVID-1+9 pandemic.

The 2023 race will be Round 12.

“We are excited to bring the premier electric motorsport world championship to Portland for the first time in June next year,” said Alberto Longo, Co-Founder & Chief Championship Officer, Formula E in a press release. “There is a big, passionate fanbase for professional sports in the city, together with strong ecological credentials which makes Portland a perfect host for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

“The USA remains an important market for Formula E. We are delighted to maintain that critical presence and engage a new audience in the Pacific Northwest region in all-electric motorsport.”

MORE: McLaren Racing’s Ian James organization’s entry into Formula E

Last year’s American round in Brooklyn was made up of two races with Nick Cassidy from Envision Racing winning Race 1 and António da Costa from DS Techeetah taking the second race.

Portland will host only one Formula E race in 2023.

The 2023 season will be highlighted by the new Gen 3 car, which features a battery capable of generating 350 kilowatts with regeneration capability from both the front and rear axles. This contributes to a top speed of 200 miles per hour (m.p.h.), an increase of about 25 m.p.h. from last year.

The 2023 season also marks the entry of two new iconic teams, Maserati and McLaren, who completed their roster of drivers in late November with the addition of Jake Hughes.

Season 9 Calendar

Round 1:  January 3, Mexico City, Mexico
Rounds 2 & 3: January 27-28, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
Round 4: February 11, Hyderabad, India*
Round 5: February 6, Cape Town, South Africa*
Round 6: March 8, São Paulo, Brazil*
Rounds 7 & 8: April 22-23, Berlin, Germany
Round 9: May 6, Monaco
Rounds 10 & 11: June 3-4, Jakarta, Indonesia
Round 12: June 24, Portland, Oregon*
Rounds 13 & 14: July 15-16, Rome, Italy
Rounds 15 & 16: July 29-30, London

*subject to final FIA Safety and Technical checks,