IndyCar plans swift return to Texas after Olympics clash leads to 2024 absence


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IndyCar plans an immediate return to Texas Motor Speedway in 2025 after publishing a calendar for next season which does not feature a round at the oval.

“I think there’s an opening, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we’re not going back, the fact that we’re not there in 2024,” said Mark Miles, CEO and president of the IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway-owning Penske Entertainment Corporation.

“There’s a great relationship there and we’ll double back and see what’s possible in the future. I will say that I think that market is really important to us, so it’s not something that will be neglected.”

The initial problem preventing IndyCar from firming up a 2024 date at the track was that NASCAR had not coordinated its schedule for next year and therefore had not decided when it wanted to race at Texas.

“We knew there were all kinds of possibilities, but it was really, fairly late in this process for us that it was clear what their schedule was going to look like and therefore the implications for us,” explained Miles.

IndyCar has only once raced at the track later than 12th June, which was in 2016 when heavy rain led to the postponement of the race from its usual June date to August. Racing that late in the year at Texas was considered by IndyCar for 2024, but television broadcasters’ desire to air the Olympics ruled that out.

“I think everybody understands we have basically zero flexibility after the Olympics next year, and with NASCAR’s move into the spring there, there really wasn’t an opportunity from TMS’s perspective for us,” said Miles.

“We made it known to our promoter partner that we were open to [an August date], and it just didn’t seem to have traction,” Miles added.

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The other challenge with finding a late-season date was that IndyCar had already committed to ending the 2024 campaign on 15th September and being in Canada to race in Toronto on 21st July, and the chance of getting television coverage for any races in the first two weeks of August were reduced by the Olympics taking place during that period and demanding sports broadcasters’ attention.

“I think that the calendar’s just slammed after the Olympics and there really wasn’t a good opportunity that would make sense for everybody,” Miles added, noting the extremes of the Texan heat also had to be avoided. “It’s not exactly weather like we have in Indianapolis today, in Texas in the summer. Although we’ve been through that before.

“So that was taken in consideration. We just really didn’t see the opening that would work for us. But we’ll hit pause and then we’ll see what we can do going forward.”

Miles stressed IndyCar’s keenness to return to the track, and said they are prepared to consider holding a joint event with NASCAR.

“That North Texas market is very important to IndyCar,” he said. “So we’ll go back to work, as we have some of the other building blocks, like our own media partner, in place for 2025.

“I think we have a really good relationship with NASCAR. There are intermittent conversations about the possibility of doing more together. I think the spirits are willing, and then you get into all the complicated difficulties of laying schedules on top of each other or side-by-side and making that work. I think there will probably be more in the future.”

Penske Entertainment “will do whatever we need to do, and whatever is welcomed by the promoter to make the event grow and be successful” once the return to Texas becomes possible, Miles added.

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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6 comments on “IndyCar plans swift return to Texas after Olympics clash leads to 2024 absence”

  1. “I will say that I think that market is really important to us, so it’s not something that will be neglected.”

    Well, that sums up the drive behind it pretty nicely.

    To me, whatever the excuses, it’s beyond comprehension that an organisation putting together the calendar for an important series that’s recurring every year, is incapable of keeping in mind the every four year recurrence of another, important global event.

  2. Sounds more like it’s down to NASCAR taking until now to announce their schedule and TMS preferring to host them instead and not wanting to frontload their own schedule with two high-visibility events close to each other early in the year. Not a whole lot Indycar can do if the broadcasting people say no to an August date and they already have a contract with Nashville to hold the season finale in mid-September.

  3. The track has been ruined by the traction crap NASCAR applies to it. Makes it like driving on ice and un-raceable for IndyCar’s. No loss there.

    1. They did some work on improving the racing there this year (they held a high-line practice session to wear it in, and I think they may also have done some other stuff to the track but I don’t know for certain), and it made the race this year much, much better than the ones in recent years.

  4. Texas is the most exciting race on the calendar! I’m super relieved it comes back!

    When it comes to clashing with the Olympics in particular, I find it surprising as Paris is +6 hours ahead of the East Coast USA and +9h ahead of West Coast USA time. I think all Olympic events will be ending well before 17:00 US time every day. And Texas has had fantastic night races many times, which would fill late evenings after the Olympic broadcasts.

    1. The key here is that while the live events may be done by that time, Olympic coverage in the US tends to be a combination of live and tape-delayed in order that the main broadcaster can fill their evening slots with Olympics coverage.

      So the live sports may be done for the day by the time the race would occur, but their race would be still be competing with tape-delayed prime-time Olympics coverage NBC will run.

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