By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter
There is 17 races next season for the Verizon IndyCar Series as the 2017 schedule has been announced.
The 2017 schedule a degree of continuity as every race from the 2016 schedule return in their now traditional dates and times.
“The release of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule continues to build upon the success INDYCAR has experienced the last three years and establishes continuity and consistency in our event calendar,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “As a series we are working diligently to create long-term relationships with our promoters to establish date equity and to provide them with the opportunity to initiate ticket renewals and event promotions earlier, which is pivotal to continuing the increase in attendance at our events.”
The lone new race on the calendar is Gateway Motorsports Park which will host it’s first Indy car race in 14 years on August 26. The 1.25 mile egg shaped oval previously hosted CART races from 1997-2000 and Verizon IndyCar Series races from 2001-2003.
The return of IndyCar is the latest big thing for the track since it’s reopening in 2013 by St. Louis native and former racer Curtis Francois. Francois has spent nearly $20 million in improvements to the track since taking over the ownership and brought back the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2014 and appears to be more than happy about IndyCar returning.
“Today is a monumental day for the people of the St. Louis region,” said Gateway Motorsports Park owner Curtis Francois. “I am proud of the progress we’ve made at my hometown track. I knew someday we would be making an announcement like this because I have such confidence in the people of this region and their commitment to great sporting events.
There are a few notable date changes, the first being the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach moving up to April 9th because of the track’s long standing policy of not running on Easter, which falls on Long Beach’s traditional third weekend in April date. Phoenix also sees it’s date moved to April 29 due to the NCAA Final Four tournament being held on the first weekend in April which was the race’s date this year.
Watkins Glen also announced Thursday morning that they have signed a two-year extension with IndyCar in the wake of becoming the last minute replacement for the defunct Boston Grand Prix.
The NBC Sports Network and ABC will carry all the races live with television times set to be announced at a later date.
2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Schedule
March 12 — Streets of St. Petersburg
April 9 — Streets of Long Beach
April 23 — Barber Motorsports Park
April 29 — Phoenix International Raceway
May 13 — Grand Prix of Indianapolis
May 28 — Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
June 3 — Raceway at Belle Isle Park
June 4 — Raceway at Belle Isle Park
June 10 — Texas Motor Speedway
June 25 — Road America
July 9 — Iowa Speedway
July 16 — Streets of Toronto
July 30 — Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Aug. 20 — Pocono Raceway
Aug. 26 — Gateway Motorsports Park
Sept. 3 — Watkins Glen International
Sept. 17 — Sonoma Raceway