Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Updated: February 8, 9:03 PM ET
IndyCar schedule needs fixing
The championship of the IndyCar Series has gone down to the last lap of the last race in each of the last two seasons. Unfortunately, not many people were watching.
Instead of trying to correct that situation, the IRL announced its 16-race 2008 schedule with the same bad date for the season finale.
The final race will be the weekend after Labor Day at Chicagoland Speedway. Nothing wrong with the Joliet, Ill., track, which always produces exciting races on the 1.5-mile oval.
But the date is all wrong. The race comes on opening day for the NFL. It also comes on the same weekend as the Richmond Nextel Cup event that decides which drivers make the Chase for the Championship.
The Richmond race is Saturday night and the IndyCar event is Sunday, but the majority of reporters who cover motorsports are in Virginia for the Cup race.
All the attention in racing goes to NASCAR. And most of the attention nationwide goes to the NFL.
Why not end the season on Labor Day weekend? The IndyCar Series would have its finale before the NFL season starts. And NASCAR is in California, not exactly the highlight event of the Cup schedule.
The IndyCar Series has a street race at Belle Isle in Detroit on Labor Day weekend. Move that event to another date.
And stop leaving the entire month of May open for the Indy 500. Shorten it to a two-week show and race elsewhere in early May.
IRL officials also don't have any desire to make Eddie Gossage happy. The president of Texas Motor Speedway has all but begged the IRL to again give him the race after Indy, but the IRL continues to schedule an event in between Texas and the Indy 500.
IRL officials believe there's a need to feed off the interest of the Indy 500 and hold an event the next weekend. The Milwaukee race is the weekend after Indy.
That race might draw 30,000. The TMS event draws about 80,000. Only the Indy 500 has higher attendance for an IndyCar race.
Wouldn't it make sense to keep the guy happy who hosts your second biggest race?