There’s still no IndyCar schedule for 2016, but when it is finally announced (assuming it is) rest assured we’ll have a rip-snortin’ reaction. A big league series should strive for consistency in scheduling with annual racing dates and locales – none of this fly by night, here one year and gone the next BS. The lineup should also contain twenty-plus races and obviously be announced before late October.
Barring that, IRR offers up our ideal slate of races with the added bonus of a brief description of each. Readers will notice a heavy dose of good ol’ fashioned oval tracks and a corresponding dearth of road courses, as it should be. Of course this would require some balls from IndyCar “leadership” and above all else the firing of series boss/mouthpiece Mark Miles. Ah, if only it were so.
Fontana: The track offers breath-taking open wheel racing and is a must for the schedule. Why not open the season with a thrilling five hundred miler before it gets too hot for those trendy, fair weather fans in California? The Dude abides.
Image from thefix.com
Long Beach: It’s a street circuit with some tradition, so unlike many others it survived the cut. The Beach is vastly superior to Sonoma, which doesn’t make our list. Sorry winos, but we prefer beer – and good racing.
Phoenix: Obviously PIR isn’t the most exciting oval (though it still beats Barber) and it’s in a desert. But racing at Phoenix would complete the southwestern swing to open the season, plus there’s tradition at the flat, dog-legged – if desolate – venue.
Photo from autoracing1.com
Kentucky: A superb mile and a half oval with some of the closest racing and finishes in recent memory. The series used to frequent Kentucky, but in its infinite wisdom no longer does. A return would be epic – just ask Ed Carpenter.
Indy (oval): Next year marks the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 and IRR will be there, come hell or high water. Rather than tarnishing the Indiana treasure’s image with the gawd-awful Grand Prix, why not run another late season oval event, perhaps a four hundred miler at IMS as the finale?
Texas: A mainstay of the series for fifteen years now and with good reason. No mere “boring schedule filler” as some dunder-head game-boy in Minnesota recently quipped, TMS is a tremendous destination with terrific IndyCar racing. Long live Texas! A certain mush-minded Minnesotan can go jump in ten thousand lakes.
Road America: There’s some history there, hidden away in the Wisconsin woods. AJ Foyt left behind some leg bones at RA a few decades ago and we’re offering a prize to the lucky fan who finds them. Logistically the rural road ride would make a perfect pairing with . . .
Photo from 8thingstodo.com
Milwaukee: The world’s oldest racetrack simply must return to the IndyCar schedule, if heritage still means anything at all to the slovenly series. On second thought, Milwaukee needs to return regardless. We say make a week of it camping in Wisconsin, preferably in mid-June.
Photo from toledoblade.com
Michigan: Longtime host of the fast cars, it’s now relegated to hosting only those lumbering, over-rated, bulging behemoths – alas, like several others on our list. That’s truly a travesty and needs to change as soon as possible, as Fontana’s sister track is being utterly wasted otherwise.
Toronto: The Canuck concrete car crusher has some history and besides, it throws those few fans north of the border a bone. Plus, this race always makes Hinch happy and as importantly assures Dallara profitability for the year.
Iowa: The one decent thing in the entire God-forsaken state (including a has-been blogger-cum ‘novelist’) is Iowa Speedway, which guarantees good racing, buttery corn on the cob, plate-sized pork chops and little else.
Chicagoland: Scene of some of the closest finishes in IndyCar history, this mile and a halfer definitely needs to be resurrected. Located south of Chicago, fans who decide to bravely journey into the city should seriously consider both body armor and packing some heat.
Kansas: The return of another nice mile and a half circuitous track and former series staple would enhance IndyCar’s Midwestern reach, emphasis on both “mid” and “western.” Plus there’s good barbecue and baseball nearby, if not football.
Pocono: “NASCAR’s tricky triangle” as it’s irritatingly known is an oddly shaped oval and not the best track in the world, but it’s a helluva lot better than Mid-Ohio. The slumber-inducing sports car course also fails to make our cut.
Atlanta: This fast, high-banked oval is the former site of compelling open wheel racing, deep in the heart of N@$C@R country. A return to “Hotlanta” is long overdue, ideally at night when it isn’t so blasted sultry.
Photo from indycar.com
Homestead: Replaced by St. Pete, we’d like to see the tables turned and this south Florida oval brought back, perhaps prior to an off week to allow for some drunken good times in Key West.
Charlotte: A race there would be bravely taking the fight to the very blackest heart of NAS-CAB country. IndyCar held some exciting races at Charlotte until a tragic accident abruptly ended the party. In 2016 it’s high time for a return. Maybe, just maybe the Cap’n would let us camp out at his spacious nearby facilities, making proper use of the joint for a change. Imagine Will Power – minus his meds – around a roaring campfire. After all, accidents do happen. Now that’s hot!
Photo from foxsports.com.au
Cleveland: Why not resurrect the old lakefront airport course? It’s wide open with plenty of room for error (in case Stefano Coletti were to return) and provided some highly entertaining racing back during the split.
Watkins Glen: It’s an historic road course that would help cover the northeast, which is where the people were. Compared to racing around the “big dig” streets of Boston, it’s a no brainer. Plus, there’s waaay fewer Southies, concrete shoes and crooked politicians with which to contend.
Photo from motorsport.com
Richmond: This is the track that caused Eddie Cheever to liken racing an IndyCar there to “flying a jet plane in a gymnasium.” It would add another short oval to the mix, target the mid-Atlantic region and again take the fight to Crap-car country. Holding a three hundred miler there would be sweeter than a Virginia baked ham.