There was very nearly a major conflict in the 2020 racing season that would have left a lot of drivers, owners and spectators steamed but it was averted when Circuit of The Americas agreed to move its NTT IndyCar Series date back a month.
The original IndyCar schedule had COTA penciled in for March 22 — which also happened to be the same weekend as the Mobil 1 Twelve Hourse of Sebring. That would have left IndyCar regulars like Scott Dixon, Sebastian Bourdais, Alex Rossi, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay unable to participate in IMSA’s sports car endurance showcase, which always follows January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. But COTA did what was best for the overall landscape of North American motorsports and agreed to push back its second-ever IndyCar race to April 26.
“IMSA is our friend and we didn’t want to have a conflict but we were locked into that original date. We couldn’t move it back a week because Texas was hosting NASCAR and we weren’t about to go against them, and early April at COTA didn’t work because it;s hosting MotoGP,” explained IndyCar president Jay Frye. “But COTA didn’t want to go against Sebring if it could be avoided and I give them big props for working with us to move back to late April.
“I think it’s a win-win for motorsports. I think it might actually be a better date for COTA because it will be warmer and our teams will be coming back from Long Beach.”
Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi field teams in both series and reportedly lobbied hard to make sure they could participate in both races with their drivers.
“It was the right move,” said Ganassi, whose team is a six-time winner of the Rolex 24. “I’m glad everything worked out.”