The 2022 Indycar schedule which had a rather low key release yesterday- an internet story posted between the final warmup for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey and the Indy Lights race- is not atypical of recent schedule releases. The schedule has some good, some bad, and some things that just make you shrug your shoulders. I think most of the scheduled was dictated by available slots on NBC.
From a selfish standpoint, this schedule is one where I could attend every race with no logistical issues whether or not I go to Florida for the winter.
Iowa returns to the schedule with a double header. The twin bill adds one more oval race to the schedule.
Toronto stays on the schedule as they make a third attempt to hold the Honda Indy. The pandemic has caused the race to be cancelled in 2020 and this year.
Fourteen of the races are on big NBC. The channel consistency makes it easier for fans to find the race and not wonder which channel to find.
Long Beach returns to its traditional spring date. I think this is a more natural time slot for the second oldest race on the calendar.
Texas’ new early date will have cooler temperatures than the June date has endured. It might change the racing, although as long as the PJ-1 compound is on the surface, not much will change.
Detroit is not a double header. I like this change, although the racing at Belle Isle has been quite good in the last two events.
The start of the season is not to my liking. One race a month with three weeks between races is not a good way to build a strong viewer base. I have no problem with St. Pete in February, but Indycar continues its pattern of having the opening race, then a three week gap until the next weekend. This trend now extends to race three.
If there are just two races in June, spread them out. May is packed with events on all but one weekend, and the two June races follow immediately. Teams have five straight weekends of races and Indianapolis 500 qualifying.
While I am happy that Texas will run during cooler weather, the date conflicts with the Sebring 12 Hour Race. Many Indycar drivers also run that event since the teams need an extra driver. Either the Indycar drivers will miss Sebring or there will be some red eye flights out of Florida late Saturday night. I know some fans who will be torn between which event to attend. I’m saving up for my private jet starting now.
July has four events with five races, followed by just two races in August and two more in September.
Once again, the season ends too early. September 11 should be when the stretch run for the title begins. Indycar should schedule races for September 25, October 9, and the finale October 16.
Two races, Detroit and World Wide Technology (Gateway) are on USA network. I would like to know why those races were chosen for the alternate network. Will the races on USA rotate year to year?
Toronto’s return is assigned to Peacock exclusively. Does this mean the series thinks this race’s spot is still tenuous? Again will the race that gets on peacock rotate from year to year? Are some races more equal than others?
Three Indycar races at IMS are too many. The third race, part of the Indycar/NASCAR doubleheader, should go to another venue. The double header was a nice showcase this year, but I think the concept will get old quickly. Indycar shouldn’t be the undercard to NASCAR’s minor league seies.
I appreciate how difficult it must be to put a schedule together with all the parts that must fit together, but sometimes I wonder why there have to be such huge gaps in the calendar.
The rest of the week we will talk about the season finale and the championship with possibly some driver announcements thrown in.