Road Racing Debut Highlights IRL IndyCar Series Schedule INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2004 -- Indy Racing League officials announced a 16-race schedule for the 2005 IRL IndyCarÂ® Series season, highlighted by the 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile...
Road Racing Debut Highlights IRL IndyCar Series Schedule
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2004 -- Indy Racing League officials announced a 16-race schedule for the 2005 IRL IndyCar® Series season, highlighted by the 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and new events at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y., the Indy Racing League's first two road course racing events.
The 2005 season marks the 10th year of competition for the IRL IndyCar Series. The 16-race schedule, featuring 14 ovals and two road courses, equals the 2003 and 2004 season for the largest number of events on an IndyCar Series season schedule.
"As we look ahead to our 10th year of competition, we are excited that we have the opportunity to add two historic road circuits to our schedule," said Tony George, the president and CEO of the Indy Racing League. "International Speedway Corp. (owner of Watkins Glen International) and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (owner of Infineon Raceway) have been an integral part of our growth, and this is further evidence of our continued commitment to add strength and value to those relationships."
For the fourth consecutive year, Homestead-Miami Speedway will play host to the season opener, the Toyota Indy 300 scheduled for Sunday, March 6. The season will end with the Toyota Indy 400, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 16 at California Speedway. It will be the first time the 2-mile oval will play host to the IndyCar Series season finale.
"The addition of Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International is being warmly accepted by all of our partners, drivers and teams," said Ken Ungar, senior vice president, business affairs for the Indy Racing League. "Bringing the season finale to the southern California market where open-wheel racing has such a rich tradition is especially gratifying."
The first road racing event in IndyCar Series history will take place at an IndyCar Series-modified 10-turn, 1.77-mile course at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 28. The first race at the historic 3.4-mile, 11-turn long-course at Watkins Glen International is scheduled for Sept. 25. The IndyCar Series circuit will include "the boot," which is part of the circuit's traditional grand prix circuit.
The race at Infineon Raceway will be the first Indy-style race at the facility since Dan Gurney's win in a USAC Indy Car race in 1970, while the race at Watkins Glen occurs on the weekend long associated with the United States Grand Prix at the facility.
The 89th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 29. The speedway will announce its May schedule in the near future.
"The addition of road courses will bring even more variety and challenges to IndyCar Series drivers and teams," said Brian Barnhart, the IRL's senior vice president, racing operations. "We are working closely with the teams and manufacturers to bring the same excitement of our oval events to road-racing."
Though most of the events remain near their traditional dates, there have been a few date changes.
The second race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway will run on Saturday, March 19, while the IndyCar Series' third visit to the Twin Ring Motegi moves to Saturday, April 30.
The Indy Racing League, which in May announced a contract extension through the 2009 season with ABC Sports and ESPN, will announce its complete 2005 television schedule in the immediate future.