The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series schedule looks a lot like 2019, with the exception of Richmond’s racy oval returning and some shuffling to allow TV partner NBC to cover the Summer Olympics.
The 17 races feature seven road courses, five street circuits and five ovals — beginning in mid-March and ending in late September. It’s pretty balanced, with three races in April, four in May, three in June, and two each in July, August and September.
“The cadence of the schedule is good and Stephen Starks did a great job, especially when you factor in the three weeks we won’t be racing for the Summer Olympics,” said IndyCar president Jay Frye, speaking of IndyCar’s Vice President of Promotion and Media Relations. “Big props to Stephen, COTA, Mid-Ohio and NBC for making it work.
“Venue equity is very important to us, and there’s only one difference in next year’s schedule, and that’s key.”
That new addition is an old friend in Virginia: Richmond Raceway, which hosted IndyCar from 2001-2009. The three-quarter-mile oval replaces Pocono, and Richmond president Dennis Bickmeier and Frye have been working on a return for more than a year.
“We put on some good shows there and I remember the high line really working for Sam Hornish,” said Scott Dixon, a two-time winner at Richmond who won the last race there in 2009. “It’s a great short oval, and I’m looking forward to going back.”
Because NBC will spend nearly a month covering the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, there won’t be any races from mid-July to mid-August, and it required Mid-Ohio to move from its traditional July date to August and Richmond to go in late June.
“Richmond was very accommodating because we only had so many windows in play, and Dennis worked with us,” continued Frey. “He’s a big fan of open-wheel and worked hard to put this thing together. And Kevin (Savoree) and Kim (Green) were also very cooperative in moving Mid-Ohio back. And we can’t thank COTA enough for its flexibility.
The second race at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin had originally been set for March 22, but that was also the same weekend as IMSA’s sports car endurance contest at Sebring, which traditionally attracts several IndyCar stars onto its entry list. COTA acquiesced, and agreed to move to late April (April 26) to remove this conflict.