The Verizon IndyCar Series have officially unveiled the 2017 schedule which features six oval races with the addition of Gateway Motorsports Park on August 26, running as a back to back event with the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
March 12 – Streets of St Petersburg
April 9 – Streets of Long Beach
April 23 – Barber Motorsports Park
April 29 – Phoenix International Raceway
May 13 – Grand Prix of Indianapolis
May 20 – Indianapolis 500 qualifying day 1
May 21 – Indianapolis 500 qualifying day 2
May 28 – Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
June 3 – The Raceway at Belle Isle Park
June 4 – The Raceway at Belle Isle Park
June 10 – Texas Motor Speedway
June 25- Road America
July 9 – Iowa Speedway
July 16 – Toronto
July 30 – Mid Ohio Sports Car Course
August 20 – Pocono Raceway
August 26 – Gateway Motorsports Park
September 3 – Watkins Glen International
September 17 – Sonoma Raceway
Speaking about the 2017 schedule, CEO of Hulman and Company Mark Miles stated:
The release of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule continues to build upon the success INDYCAR has experienced the last three years and establishes continuity and consistency in our event calendar, As a series we are working diligently to create long-term relationships with our promoters to establish date equity and to provide them with the opportunity to initiate ticket renewals and event promotions earlier, which is pivotal to continuing the increase in attendance at our events.
The 2017 season will see the return to the IndyCar calendar of Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois for the first time since 2003. Speaking about their return Gateway Motorsports Park owner Curtis Francois commented by saying:
Today is a monumental day for the people of the St. Louis region. “I am proud of the progress we’ve made at my hometown track. I knew someday we would be making an announcement like this because I have such confidence in the people of this region and their commitment to great sporting events. More than a dozen track operators around the country sought this INDYCAR race for their communities. I firmly believe we came out on top because of the energy, loyalty and commitment to great sports that sports fans of all kinds demonstrate each day in this community.
Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves commented on the return of Gateway Motorsports Park by saying:
I think it’s great that we’re going back to Gateway.”Personally, I like it because I’ve had success there but also that I used to race for Hogan (a St. Louis-based Indy car team in 1999), which makes it a special place to me. I won there with Team Penske in 2003 and there was an all-Brazilian podium with Tony (Kanaan) and Gil (de Ferran). I remember that we had a really good car. I think we started from the pole and led a lot of laps. I know that the people of St. Louis will get a heck of a show. The track isn’t a typical oval with the irregular shape, which makes it challenging. It’s a track well suited for INDYCAR. I’m looking forward to it.
Miles went on to discuss the return of Gateway Motorsports Park and the extension of Watkins Glen’s contract, saying:
The addition of Gateway Motorsports Park and the return of Watkins Glen International are integral to the continued growth of INDYCAR. “Gateway officials have been enthusiastic about the prospect of hosting a Verizon IndyCar Series event for some time and we’re excited to bring the series to the St. Louis market. Watkins Glen is an iconic American road course that is revered by our fans, drivers and teams. Our goal from the beginning was to establish a long-term agreement and we’re thrilled that we’ve been able to extend this relationship for the future.