Photo: Walter G. Arce, Sr./ASP, Inc.

INDYCAR’s Return at Richmond is Canceled, Road America Becomes Doubleheader

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Once again, additional changes were made on the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series calendar as one race is officially canceled while another will now host a doubleheader. Those tracks were Richmond Raceway and Road America respectively.

Those announcements were confirmed Thursday as one of the most anticipating INDYCAR events of 2020 won’t happen as the June 26-27 race weekend at Richmond due to COVID-19.

This is due in most part of the state of Virginia being extremely cautious of reopening as it just started Phase 1 of their recovery plan. Governor Ralph Northam mentioned that it won’t be until July or August when public gatherings are allowed.

Thursday’s cancellation of the 0.75-mile oval marked the sixth INDYCAR track that won’t host a race, joining Barber Motorsports Park, Long Beach, Circuit of the Americas, Detroit and Toronto.

According to RACER, only the latter could see a rescheduling date with the possibility of having the Honda Indy Toronto held in the fall.

The street circuit issued a statement regarding their disappointment of not hosting any racing on July 10-12.

“Following the City of Toronto’s decision to cancel major festivals and events by not issuing permits through August 31 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, INDYCAR announced today that the Honda Indy Toronto has been removed from the Series’ 2020 schedule. The event was originally scheduled to take place July 10-12 at Exhibition Place.

“We are extremely disappointed, and will miss the incredible fans who have supported us, but the safety of fans, participants, volunteers, staff, partners, and media will always remain our top priority. Green Savoree Toronto remains open to exploring all possibilities moving forward as the global situation continues to evolve.

“Ticket purchasers on file will receive direct communication in the coming weeks.”

On a positive note, INDYCAR also confirmed that Road America will host a doubleheader on both July 11 and 12 as part of the REV Group Grand Prix Presented by AMR weekend. The four-mile road course becomes the third track that’ll be hosting doubleheaders, joining Iowa Speedway (July 17-18) and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (September 19-20).

The doubleheader at Wisconsin’s famous road course will offer free admission on all active-duty first responders. It includes law enforcement, fire, paramedics and emergency medical technicians as long as they show valid identification (department-issued ID, badge, a copy of certifications or active roster copy from their department on department letterhead) indicating their active status.

Furthermore, fans are encouraged to follow social distancing, wear a mask in areas where social distancing will be difficult, frequently washing their hands or use the new sanitizer stations located around the track.

Mike Kertscher, President and General Manager of Road America, stated he’s thankful to have the famous Wisconsin road course host more racing and are prepared to assure the fans will be healthy and safe.

“We’re set for a can’t-miss motorsports doubleheader at America’s National Park of Speed as we pay tribute to America’s First Responders, Police, Fire, and EMS at the REV Group Grand Prix Presented by AMR all weekend with FREE admission at the gate with valid ID,” said Kertscher. “Our vast 640-acre outdoor facility is widely regarded as ‘the safest place to watch a race’ because fans are not dedicated to a seat and can roam freely around the property to find their favorite viewing location.

“We’ve also added more hand sanitizing stations while partnering with local brands such as Guy & O’Neill to supply us with disinfecting wipes for use in high-touch common areas, and CTECH Manufacturing to install polycarbonate sneeze guards at various locations. We also offer Print at Home ticketing, so fans can enjoy a contactless experience at the gates. Simply buy, print, scan, enter, and enjoy America’s National Park of Speed.

“Above all else, we appreciate everyone’s support and flexibility as we made schedule adjustments caused by COVID-19. We also extend our thanks to INDYCAR for embracing this new doubleheader schedule to give our fans and our frontline heroes a memorable experience that they have patiently been waiting for.”

Both announcements were part of the sport’s latest 2020 schedule realignment where the season will finally commence June 6th at Texas Motor Speedway for the running of the Genesys 300.

Following the 1.5-mile oval, the series will head to Indianapolis for the GMR Grand Prix the 4th of July, marking the first of three races at the famous circuit as the 104th Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge is slated to run on August 23rd and the INDYCAR Harvest Grand Prix on October 3rd.

Mark Miles, Penske Entertainment Corporation President and CEO, commented that the series is ready to get the season underway and certain the competitors will put on a great season.

“Our teams and athletes are ready to get back on track and will deliver world-class action at Texas Motor Speedway and the Racing Capital of the World,” said Miles. “We appreciate the opportunity to begin our season during these unprecedented times, and I’m confident we’ll put on a great show.”

The 14-round odyssey will wrap up on October 25th as the original season opener known as the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg hosts the finale.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media and a three-time National Motorsports Press Association award winner in photography. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography with ambitions of having his work recognized.