Race Weekend Central

IndyCar Dream Tracks That Could Fill Out The 2020 Schedule

The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series schedule has gone through quite a few makeovers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are still some holes to fill now that both West Coast races have been cancelled and Mid-Ohio has been indefinitely postponed.

So how (and where) could IndyCar occupy its time in September and mid-October? Here are five tracks that very well could plug the gaps this fall—and that would also be pretty damn fun.

Watkins Glen International

It hasn’t been long since the last IndyCar race at Watkins Glen, but the track is great for IndyCar. It’s loaded with history and could certainly produce some excellent racing—especially without any lengthy practice sessions to get the newbies too familiar with things. 

And as an added bonus, New York is one of the few states whose COVID-19 numbers are trending downward. WGI could be a great place to host a race, both with fans and without the fear that a local spike will shut it down at the last minute.

Virginia International Speedway

The return of Richmond Raceway was exciting for IndyCar, and its subsequent cancellation due to the pandemic was heartbreaking. While it would still be ideal to have a Richmond race, if that’s not happening, why not throw in VIR as a substitute?

VIR is currently closed to spectators, but the IMSA race on the August 21-23 weekend is still happening. VIR has retained its vintage feel in ways that other upgraded circuits haven’t, and it would be a nice little experiment to see the full IndyCar field barreling down Roller Coaster.

Lime Rock Park

The initial 2020 IndyCar calendar was seriously lacking in East Coast races, and it’s not too late to solve that problem. Lime Rock Park is a gorgeous little circuit in Connecticut that has never hosted an IndyCar race before, but what better time to change that than the weirdest season in history?

And listen—if you’re not convinced, just know that Paul Newman loved the track. You’re basically not allowed to not like it.

Daytona International Speedway Road Course

The DIS road course is a sight to behold if you’ve never been there before: from the main grandstand, you can see just about everything in a way that you can’t at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s one heck of a fun track, and it would be great to see the road course used more frequently.

That said, Florida probably isn’t the ideal place to host a race right now—but, hey, we can dream!

Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL

If IMSA gets to run its first races on the ROVAL this year, then why can’t IndyCar? The concept of a ROVAL isn’t new, but it’s still delightful to see cars traversing both banked corners and twisty infield turns. 

It could also have a marketing advantage. 2020 was a great time to try out a NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader; why not throw IMSA into the mix as well and have more cross-promotion? NASCAR’s race takes place on October 11, which is currently an off-weekend for IndyCar. 

The 2020 IndyCar season continues Aug. 23 with the 104th Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will air at 1:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

About the author

Elizabeth Blackstock is lead IndyCar writer for Frontstretch, a freelance journalist, and a novelist. She earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Austin and is currently pursuing a dual MFA/MA degree at Arcadia University. She is in love with her car, a 2013 Mazda 2.

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It would be great to see Indycars back at The Glen, but I doubt that it could happen, with or without fans. NY has travel restrictions in place for 30 plus states. I’ll be at The Glen for the vintage and Trans Am races Sept 9-13, crewing for a vintage team, but it was announced this week that the event will be closed to the public. Just a couple years ago we had a mid October vintage race there cancelled……because of snow!

The thought of Indycars at Lime Rock is really, really fascinating. While Connecticut’s fall weather can be a little more forgiving than Watkins Glen’s, Connecticut too, has travel restrictions. Lime Rock announced yesterday that their labor Day Historic Festival is still on, but they had to cancel their plans to allow spectators. Lime Rock also has a limit on open exhaust days, and I don’t know if any are available.

Two other “dream” track possibilities are Summit Point in WV, and New Jersey Motorsports Park. While Summit’s facilities are a little primitive, the track itself is both fun and challenging. I think two dozen Indycars barreling down Summit’s Chute, through Turn 5 and around the Carousel, would be very exciting.

While NJ also has travel restrictions, NJMP has been open for non spectator racing, and unlike Lime Rock and Summit Point, NJMP’s Thunderbolt track has modern garages and even some at track housing. Thunderbolt has also hosted pro events, including ARCA, Trans Am and Daytona Prototypes. Thunderbolt is not the best spectator track, but in 2020 that’s not an issue, and south Jersey’s weather remains fairly mild throughout October.

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