IndyCar working to clear some hurdles in finalizing 2024 calendar

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - MAY 28: #10: Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, #21: Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, #6: Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, #6: Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, #9: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, #14: Santino Ferrucci, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet, start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 28, 2023 in Indianapolis, United States of America. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt / LAT Images)
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - MAY 28: #10: Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, #21: Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, #6: Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, #6: Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, #9: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, #14: Santino Ferrucci, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet, start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 28, 2023 in Indianapolis, United States of America. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt / LAT Images)

The NTT IndyCar Series faces two hurdles as it assembles its next championship calendar.

The first is found in trying to fill the month-long gap between its opening race in St. Petersburg and round two at Texas Motor Speedway. The second is presented by the 2024 Paris Olympics, which will demand the full attention of IndyCar’s television partners at NBC from July 26-Aug. 11. Looking ahead, the period of time NBC will focus solely on the Olympics falls where the current Nashville and IMS Brickyard weekends are located on the schedule.

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With one early gap to eliminate and a large mid-summer blackout period to work around, Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles says progress is being made on all fronts.

“Well, we’ve done it a few times now, and for any sport, the Olympics is challenging,” Miles told RACER. “For us, there will be some kind of a gap during the Olympics. Exactly what that looks like, it’s a little early to tell. The other gap, we’re working on it and I’m hopeful that we will be able to not have as many weeks off in 2024 as we did this year in that early spring portion of the season.

“So all that’s a work in progress. We’ll get the calendar out around the time of the finale of this season so everybody knows right away what to look forward to for the next year.”

With several new tracks and a few former venues to consider as additions to the next IndyCar calendar, Miles isn’t sure if 2024 will be the year where significant schedule expansion beyond the current 17-round championship takes place.

“I think domestically, the number is more likely than not going to remain at 17,” he said. “I’m not saying that’s fixed, but that looks like the most likely result. There are prospects for some racing after the championship is over outside of the U.S. If that occurred, that would add to the total number of races.”

Series owner Roger Penske was present at the Milwaukee Mile Sunday morning to meet with the track promoter, and with an envoy of IndyCar personnel — including Miles — who visited Argentina to view the Termas de Río Hondo circuit, plus a recent, but very basic outreach from a promoter in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Penske Entertainment has a growing number of event prospects to consider in the coming years.

“There’s some conversation about [Milwaukee], but it’s too early to know, again, whether things will come together and IndyCar will be back there in 2024,” Miles said. “But there’s interesting prospects out there. We had a lot of people who wanted to know whether IndyCar might come and put on a race, and then COVID hits.

“And then Roger completes the acquisition and was initially not particularly interested in international racing. I think he correctly wanted to make sure that we understand the business and that we’re growing at a healthy clip in North America before we entertain going abroad. So yes, more recently, I think there’s been more conversations inbound on where else we might race. It’s just a matter of finding the right fit or fits, and the right timing, if we were to do something.”


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