Helio Castroneves, Penske, IndyCar, Indianapolis 500, 2020

Just four oval races on IndyCar’s 17-round 2021 calendar


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IndyCar has revealed a calendar of 17 races for its 2021 season, just four of which will take place on ovals.

Iowa, which held two races this year, and Richmond, whose 2020 return was cancelled due to the pandemic, will not feature on next year’s schedule.

IndyCar will therefore visit just three ovals during 2021. The Indianapolis 500, which was postponed to August due to the pandemic, will return to its traditional slot at the end of May. Texas Motor Speedway will hold a double header at the beginning of May and the final oval race will take place at Gateway in August.

Also missing from next year’s schedule is the Circuit of the Americas, which joined the IndyCar schedule last year, and whose 2020 race was also cancelled due to the pandemic.

IndyCar intends to hold six street races in 2021, including a new race in Nashville announced last month. All bar one of its city events were cancelled this year. That race, the season-opener at St Petersburg, was postponed to later this month. IndyCar will return to the track on March 7th for next year’s season-opener.

In addition to the double-headers at Texas and Detroit, IndyCar will make two visits to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on separate weekends.

17/3/2021St PetersburgStreet
211/4/2021Barber Motorsports ParkRoad
318/4/2021Long BeachStreet
41/5/2021Texas Motor SpeedwayOval
52/5/2021Texas Motor SpeedwayOval
615/5/2021Indianapolis Motor Speedway road courseRoad
730/5/2021Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayOval
812/6/2021Belle IsleStreet
913/6/2021Belle IsleStreet
1020/6/2021Road AmericaRoad
1414/8/2021Indianapolis Motor Speedway road courseRoad
1719/9/2021Laguna SecaRoad


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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “Just four oval races on IndyCar’s 17-round 2021 calendar”

  1. Fine by me! Ovals are usually a slog to watch

    1. Tough to beat a really good Indy 500. This years was not one of the best though as it appears the Aeroscreen really affected overtaking. Testing new components should fix that problem.

      I’m fine with the mix of tracks on the schedule. I prefer road and street over ovals also.

    2. Grosjean hinted he might be scared of ovals, I think ovals are more scared of Romain.

    3. Yeah, on TV I admit. Trackside is great experience, racing-wise gotta be relentlessly focus.

    4. @willbryan
      I disagree. Oval racing is far too unpredictable for my taste, but the variety of circuit configurations has been the key feature of Indycar racing since the dawn of times.
      The old IRL all-oval calendar was honestly a stretch, but four oval races out of a total 17 are too few…

  2. Indy is beginning to grow more interesting.

    1. It is way more interesting than f1 right now. The cars look terrible and the driving is sub f1 but they look a handful to drive, there’s no power steering, no DRS bull, they make a noise and Ovals are genuinely terrifying. Its a pity they don’t bring a few races to Europe.

  3. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    1st October 2020, 17:25

    I wish it was split down the middle with ovals and circuits, what comes to mind would be Michigan International Speedway, Auto Club was good racing but the layout is changing, Gateway, Chicagoland, and the Japanese Oval. Pocono was fast and a strategy race but obviously dangerous and if 2011 at Vegas didn’t happen the racing there could have been super incredible but obviously the dangers with oval racing is probably the main focus right now. I would love to see Indy get out to more countries such as Mexico City, back to Brazil and get into new markets like China or the UK. If you get a guy like Perez in IndyCar Mexico is an absolute sellout no question.

  4. Now all I need is an ex F1 driver to take part and it will almost be see-worthy. Perez for example.

    1. Now all I need is an ex F1 driver to take part and it will almost be see-worthy.

      …….you mean like Marcus Ericsson and Takuma Sato?

    2. Ericsson (and Rossi) are there!

      1. Chilton, Bourdais…

        1. Maybe he meant ex decent f1 driver.

          Perez would clean up over there

          1. Yes that’s what I meant, thanks. I knew of course about the also-rans.

  5. Does Indycar have a over-the-top streaming service TV option like F1?

    1. Yes, it’s through nbcsports.com, not sure about location restrictions

      1. Thanks, but only for USA I see

  6. Author said and I quote… “IndyCar intends to hold six races on street races in 2021”

    Ever heard of proofreading?

    1. I think his proof reading is just fine mate because there are 6 street races on that list.

  7. Memories are short but open wheel racing use to be bigger than NASCAR and then the George family decided to wage civil war and ultimately eliminated the open wheel racing series (ended as Champcar) that was so popular to replace it with Indycar (with cars that were/are no match for the March, Lola’s, and Penskes of the past). This civil war was waged to have a series that was 1) all American Drivers and 2) just ovals. Fast forward and here we are with Indycar getting less viewers than professional bowling and darts and the field is far from all American (an ill advised idea to start with) and now hardly any viewers. To give an idea of how cash strapped Indycar is now just look at salaries. In “Champcar”, Nigel Mansell was tempted away from the disfunctional Williams team to Haas Newman for $3.5 million, fast forward after the civil war and Hinchcliffe will get his full salary for not racing this year which came out publicly as $150,000 dollars. Thanks Tony George and the George Family, you sure made things better and after you were done you ended up selling out to Penske. Wish you had sold to Penske first and not messed up a good thing as Indycar is a faint shadow of the series, cars and racing of the past.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      1st October 2020, 18:17

      Say we just made you CEO of the current 2020 IndyCar, what would be your changes to get the series back in the spotlight and to the former glory days.

      1. Look at what Liberty are doing with F1 @canadianjosh and go the opposite way! Less fake, less ‘close racing’, less safety car, less spec, less lo-cost. But for sure NO ovals: that kind of danger is out of time, and it’s all setup and luck anyway.

    2. Yep, Tony George really did screw it up. CART was actually putting a bit of fear into F1, was expanding internationally, and had fantastic cars and racing. I attended quite a few races BITD and remember sitting on the hill above turn nine at Portland and being amazed at how fast the cars went around a corner. I’m really glad Penske is in charge; he’s a true racer and an honest gentleman to boot. It would be nice to get away from the spec chassis though….

  8. Interesting that Indy Car can get by, including financially, with only holding 17 races. I never knew there were so few in a season. But F1 needs to have 22…25. I am not in any way claiming they are similar financially or that I know much about Indy, other than what I see on here.

    1. Well it is a spec series so that helps with the costs.

      There’s also a lot less logistics because it is all in one country which streamlines a lot. Also no need deal with different regulations and rules.

    2. @phil-f1-21 @yaru

      IndyCar as a series is really run on a shoestring budget compared to F1. The race sanctioning fees are only around $1.5 million, as we learned from the recent Laguna Seca deal.

      Really, the only reason IndyCar gets by financially is because it also owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — or, rather, they’re both owned by Penske — and those 250,000 paying customers bring in about as much revenue as the sanctioning fees for all the other races combined. Without the Indy 500, CART withered away and died. And probably without the Hulman–George family fortune, the IRL would have died too.

      1. Interesting. Thank you for the insight @markzastrow

      2. Yeh nice on Mark. I’ve got little knowledge of Indy but a growing interest what with f1 being so apron strings just now and probably forever alas

  9. With just 4 ovals, maybe Grosjean wouldn’t be too afraid.

    1. Maybe he can make a deal with Ed Carpenter Racing since Ed only drives ovals?

  10. Now how are F1 fans supposed to make jokes about IndyCar drivers only turning left?

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