2013 INDYCAR SCHEDULE: NEW YEAR FEATURES RETURN OF POCONO, ADDITION OF DOUBLE HEADER WEEKENDS
INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012) – Nineteen races over 16 event weekends highlight the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule announced today.The expanded schedule includes the return of Indy car racing to Pocono Raceway and the streets of Houston.
With a 400-mile race at Pocono Raceway joining the 500-mile events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway on the schedule, the IZOD IndyCar Series will institute a Triple Crown award, which will pay a $1 million bonus to a driver that wins on all three ovals. A driver that wins two of the three races will be awarded a $250,000 bonus.
Also new for 2013 are Saturday-Sunday doubleheaders scheduled for the street courses at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park, Toronto and Houston and the implementation of standing starts at those three venues.
Fourteen of the 15 venues that hosted IZOD IndyCar Series races in 2012 return. Six races – Indianapolis, the doubleheader at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, the prime-time event at Texas Motor Speedway as well as Iowa and Pocono – will be broadcast on ABC. The balance of the schedule, including the season opener at St. Petersburg and the finale at Auto Club Speedway, will be carried on NBC Sports Network. Race distances and broadcast times will be announced at a later date.
“We are proud of the on-track product we provided in 2012,” said Randy Bernard, CEO, INDYCAR.
“From the drivers to the new car, we demonstrated that the IZOD IndyCar Series is showcasing the best racing in the world.
“It is important to provide opportunities to generate additional exposure for our sport by expanding our racing schedule, and we feel that our 2013 schedule will certainly challenge the fastest, most versatile drivers in the world with a strong mix of ovals and road and street courses, cumulating in 19 races.”
The stars and cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series return for another exciting year of competition Sunday, March 24, on the challenging 1.8-mile St. Petersburg (Fla.) street circuit. Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., will host the season finale Saturday, Oct. 19, for the second consecutive year. Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport claimed the Astor Cup as the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series driver champion in dramatic fashion over 250 laps on the 2-mile oval on Sept. 15.
The 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 26. Pole Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 18.
Six oval events on the schedule include four in a row on diverse racetracks – the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway; the flat Milwaukee Mile; the .875-mile Iowa Speedway bullring; and the 2.5-mile triangular Pocono Raceway -- in the middle of the season.
Pocono Raceway, which last hosted an Indycar race in 1989, will spring to life with the turbocharged IZOD IndyCar Series cars on Sunday, July 7. Mark Donohue won the inaugural Indy car race on the triangular track in 1971 under USAC sanction, and multiple winners include A.J. Foyt (four times), Rick Mears (three times) and Al Unser and Danny Sullivan (twice). Sullivan won the ’89 race under CART sanction.
A 1.7-mile, 10-turn circuit at Reliant Park will be the setting for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston on Saturday, Oct. 7, and Sunday, Oct. 8. Sebastien Bourdais won the last race in 2007 under Champ Car sanction, and Graham Rahal was runner-up.
Bernard added: “Our new events provide the right mix of strategically-located markets and historic tradition to our schedule. Houston gives us exposure in another top-10 U.S. market. Pocono is deep in open-wheel, oval racing tradition and has produced some of the most memorable races in Indy car history. The addition of Pocono allows us to bring back a version of the Triple Crown, restoring a popular legacy of our sport to reward the champion of our three longest races of the season.”
Full-distance doubleheader races on the three street courses are being introduced to the IZOD IndyCar Series. Details regarding qualifications procedures for the doubleheader races will be announced at a later date.
Scintillating racing on the most diverse set of racetracks in motorsports, drama, the re-introduction of engine manufacturer competition and a new universal chassis marked the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season. There were eight different race winners in the 15 events, and Hunter-Reay wrested the championship from Will Power by a scant three points in the finale. The expanded 2013 season promises more excitement.
“We want to create more exposure and content for our sport, and we feel this strong and diverse schedule along with the addition of doubleheader races will provide an opportunity to further showcase the skills and personalities of the IZOD IndyCar Series next season,” said Bernard. “We look forward to watching Ryan Hunter-Reay defend his title, the second year of engine manufacturer competition and the best-of-the-best tackle this challenging schedule in 2013.”