As expected, today INDYCAR released its 17-race slate for which the series will compete at in 2019. New additions to the schedule include the previously-announced WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as the season finale on September 22, as well as today’s confirmation that Circuit of the Americas will join the schedule as a March addition.
Teams will travel to the Austin, Texas racetrack the weekend of March 22-24, 2019 for the first time in the series’ history. COTA, as it is known, was opened in the fall of 2012 and plays host to prestigious events such as the Formula One United States Grand Prix and the MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas.
“COTA is one of the finest motorsports facilities in the world and Austin is a happening city. This a natural fit for the IndyCar Series,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Co., which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Indy car racing has a large and passionate fan base in Texas with a hunger to attend more races. This added date will allow us to deliver both oval and road course events to the state in a single season.”
The Circuit of the Americas addition comes only after INDYCAR negotiated a new deal with Texas Motor Speedway, eliminating an exclusivity act in Texas that the 1.5-mile oval used to keep the IndyCar Series from road racing in Texas.
A big get for COTA, track founder and chairman Bobby Epstein is excited to have INDYCAR join the open-wheel fray in Austin.
“It’s going to be spectacular,” Epstein said. “Our entire team at COTA is excited to welcome the teams, drivers and visitors to our great city, and we know Austin will give them a warm welcome.”
Back on track for 2019
A hallmark of the 2019 IndyCar Series schedule is its continuity with previous years, helping facilities build relationships with certain event dates which – in theory – helps bring fans back to their favorite events each year.
Only a couple of races have significant adjustments in place for 2019. Barber Motorsports Park will host the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday, April 7 next year, two weeks sooner than the event was held in 2018.
The Birmingham, Alabama race was held on the first Sunday in April for the first four years of its current nine-year IndyCar lifespan.
In a move that will be widely applauded by the IndyCar faithful, Iowa Speedway has its night race back in 2019. The race date will be Saturday, July 20, and that is a key date as it has been moved back two weeks to avoid clashing with the NASCAR night races at Daytona and Kentucky.
Once again it will be the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg kicking off the season when the series races from the Florida streets on Sunday, March 10. This will be the ninth consecutive year IndyCar has opened the year at St. Pete.
Other notables in the schedule include the Grand Prix of Long Beach returning for its 36th year – the longest consecutive stretch of appearances for any INDYCAR race outside of the Indianapolis 500 – and another post-Indianapolis doubleheader from Detroit on June 1st and 2nd.
“INDYCAR has worked to deliver a consistency and cadence to the schedule and that is reflected again in 2019,” Miles said. “We’ve added races at a pair of tracks that know how to put on fantastic events, while returning to tracks where INDYCAR has longstanding relationships on familiar race dates.
“The diversity of next year’s schedule will continue to make what we believe is the most challenging and competitive championship in motorsports.”
In the new 2019 television deal with NBC Sports Group, nearly half of all races next season will be shown live on NBC. Eight events, including the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, will be shown on NBC while nine races will be televised on NBCSN.
Here is the 2019 IndyCar Schedule:
Date | Track
March 10 | Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida
March 24 | Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas
April 7 | Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama
April 14 | Streets of Long Beach, California
May 11 | INDYCAR Grand Prix, Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course
May 26 | 103rd Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval
June 1 | Streets of Detroit, Race 1, Detroit, Michigan
June 2 | Streets of Detroit, Race 2, Detroit, Michigan
June 8 | Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas*
June 23 | Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
July 14 | Streets of Toronto, Canada
July 20 | Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa*
July 28 | Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
Aug. 18 | Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania
Aug. 24 | Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, Illinois*
Sept. 1 | Portland International Raceway, Portland, Oregon
Sept. 22 | WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Salinas, California
* indicates night race | Schedule subject to change.