Monday, October 1, 2012

Quick Thoughts On The 2013 IndyCar Schedule

While listening to Randy Bernard's announcement and subsequent official release of the 2013 IndyCar schedule, I jotted down my initial reactions to what we found out:

-I think the obvious highlight of the schedule has to be Pocono and the return of the Triple Crown. I'd like to see a 500-miler at Pocono, but will live with a 400-miler, given ABC's notoriously fickle TV window. 

-Speaking of ABC, I do like how they've selected a block of races firmly in the middle of the schedule after the Indy 500 for their part to televise this year. We complain about ABC's coverage a lot, but the fact is, we need network visibility, too. It's a trade-off.

-Obviously the big concern for the schedule as it stands is what we'll call the "September Gap". There's a long time between the September 1 date at Baltimore and the October 5-6 dates for Houston. Is there a chance a late announcement for Providence or Kentucky could go there? I certainly like to think so. It's just too long to go without a race. 

-Ultimately, however, if this is where events are going to be on the calendar, I hope they stay on the weekends they're on whenever possible going forward. Consistent dates are needed to build up tradition and planning for venue and event fans. Fill in the gaps around what we have, but build for consistency.

-I like the doubleheaders, and am excited (yet nervous) regarding the standing starts at those events. How IndyCar's drivers will handle those remains to be seen. Yes, many of them have a background with series using standing starts, but let's just see how much chaos ensues.

-It's a little curious to see Iowa not listed as a night race. That really seemed to be a great track for it. I guess we'll see what time is officially announced as we get a bit closer.

-June will again be an absolute beast for the teams, coming off Indy and having back-to-back-to-back events at Detroit, Texas, and Milwaukee. That's going to be a grueling stretch indeed.

-In summary, I think IndyCar has some great events for 2013 and some solid ideas in place, but I think few would disagree with the idea that they still have some work to do. A late announcement for another race in September would do wonders for that, but the really validation will come if this schedule proves to be a stable springboard for building up events and adding new ones in the years to come.

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