If the current NTT IndyCar Season opener on the streets of Detroit gets moved back as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, a window of alternate weekends following WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s September 18-20 event have been set aside to accommodate the doubleheader event.
RACER has learned the Chevy Dual In Detroit, along with the postponed Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, have floating fallback dates on the first four weekends in October; the fifth, spanning Oct. 31-Nov. 1, is not currently in play. IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship also races at Detroit, along with Trans Am and Historic Trans Am.
With the better part of five to six weeks required to build the circuit and hospitality units on the section of Detroit’s Belle Isle park where the races are held, a significant amount of lead time is required to produce the only doubleheader on IndyCar’s calendar.
Michigan governor Gretchen Witmer signed a stay-at-home decree on March 24 that extends though April 13, which could complicate the ability for the event’s promoter, Detroit Grand Prix, to have the circuit ready by opening practice on May 29. If the decree is extended as a result of the pandemic, a postponement would be almost guaranteed. Provided Detroit does need to be rescheduled, approvals from the city and state would be the first hurdles to clear.
RACER has also confirmed the A&D Narigi, LLC group that took control of Laguna Seca on behalf of Monterey County, is open to the season finale moving to another venue in light of the sport-wide rescheduling needs.
If Detroit is moved to October, Texas Motor Speedway would be next on the list to serve as the season opener. And, like Detroit and St. Petersburg, if a postponement of the Genesys 600 IndyCar event at TMS is required, an October makeup date would be used.
Although the Oct. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, and 24-25 weekends are being held for potential use, it’s believed the Oct. 17-18 date, where IMSA has moved its storied Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta, is expected to be reserved as the last option for IndyCar to add a conflicting event.
The last scheduling item of interest for IndyCar could be an increase in combined events with NASCAR. Despite taking place on separate weekends on their original 2020 schedules, RACER has learned additional venues where both organizations make stops—including Richmond, Iowa, Road America, Texas, Mid-Ohio, and Gateway—could feature open-wheel and stock car racing on the same weekend if more postponements are made.