The full calendar for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series has been unveiled today, with the key announcement being the return of Richmond Raceway to the calendar after eleven years. After a few controversial races in recent years, Pocono Raceway, as expected, has been dropped from the calendar to be replaced by Richmond.
The schedule was revealed prior to today’s 2019 Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway. The inclusion of Richmond Raceway has been heavily hinted at for the last few months, as was the loss of Pocono Raceway. The rest of the calendar remains largely the same, with only a handful of date changes for the remaining races on the seventeen-race schedule.
The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will kick-off the season for the tenth year in a row. The season-opening race will take place on Sunday, March 15. Following that, the teams will head to Birmingham, Alabama to race at Barber Motorsports Park, with the race being moved forward on the schedule to Sunday, April 5.
The Grand Prix of Long Beach, one of the most historical street races in motorsports, returns once again and will be the third round of the 2020 season. The race will take place on Sunday, April 19. After that, the series will return to the Circuit of the Americas after a successful debut at the track in Austin, Texas this year. The second IndyCar race at COTA will take place on Sunday, April 26.
As is now tradition, the month of May is, largely, dedicated to racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Brickyard’s road course will be run on Saturday, May 9. The centrepiece of the championship, the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, will take place two weeks later on Sunday, May 24, with qualifying for the famous race taking place on the weekend in-between.
The end of May will see the drivers head to the Belle Isle Street Circuit for the sole double-header race weekend of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series schedule. The Duel in Detroit will take place from Saturday, May 30 to Sunday, May 31.
The championship will then race for a third week in a row at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 6; the first night race of the season. After a well deserved few weeks off, the 2020 season will continue with the tenth round of seventeen at Road America on Sunday, June 21.
The eleventh round of the season will see the NTT IndyCar Series return to Richmond Raceway in Virginia for the first time since 2008. The 0.75-mile short oval will play host to the second night race of the 2020 season and will be a welcome addition to the calendar after many have called for more short ovals to be on the schedule.
Richmond returns in the place of Pocono Raceway, that will be absent from the calendar after having returned back in 2013. It was known that Pocono’s contract with IndyCar was expiring at the end of this year, but low-attendance and a number of scary accidents meant that a contract renewal was all but out of the question for “the tricky triangle”.
Speaking today of Richmond Raceway’s return to the NTT IndyCar Series, Mark Miles, IndyCar CEO, stated that he was “excited” that the Virginia oval was returning to the schedule, providing a race-date for IndyCar fans in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
“We are pleased to return to the Mid-Atlantic region, one we know to be full of INDYCAR fans,” Miles said. “We’re also excited to return to historic Richmond Raceway, which was recently reimagined with a $30 million redevelopment project that modernized the infield for a better fan experience.”
Richmond Raceway’s President, Dennis Bickmeier, also spoke of his excitement regarding IndyCar’s return to Richmond:
“Richmond Raceway’s history in motorsports dates back to 1946 when the track hosted two AAA Championship Car events,” Bickmeier said today. “After hosting INDYCAR from 2001-2009, we now look forward to the return of the NTT IndyCar Series for our fans at America’s Premier Short Track as part of a Mid-Atlantic festival of speed on June 26-27, 2020.”
After IndyCar’s return to Richmond Raceway on Saturday, June 27, the championship will head out of the United States for the one and only time in 2020. The series will once again take to the streets of Toronto, Canada on Sunday, June 12, followed by a hop back across the border for the following weekend’s race under the lights at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, June 18.
An almost month-long break will follow after Iowa Speedway and will leave the teams and drivers with four final races to decide the 2020 championship. Sunday, August 16, will see the drivers take to the track at the ever-popular Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. One week later, the championship will head to Gateway’s World Wide Technology Raceway for the final oval race of the 2020 season, with the race taking place on Saturday evening on August 22.
The final two races of the season will see the championship contenders battle it out on two legendary road courses. The Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway will return for a third consecutive year on Sunday, September 6. For the second year in a row, the NTT IndyCar Series championship will come to a close at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with the 2020 champion being crowned on Sunday, September 20.