Portland replaces The Glen on schedule
Watkins Glen International
INDIANAPOLIS will not be part of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, the circuit announced Thursday. The road-course race at the legendary track will be replaced by an event at Portland International Raceway.
The Glen has struggled to draw big crowds on Labor Day weekend the last two years.
Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup told
Racer magazine recently, “We’ve had two good races, but it’s been an uphill climb trying to make it work. I don’t think the dates help us any because July 4 and Labor Day don’t seem to be good. I asked IndyCar about changing dates, but there weren’t any available.”
Watkins Glen, which returned to the series in 2016 after a sixyear hiatus, took the place of a planned Boston street-course race that never materialized. Scott Dixon won at The Glen in its 2016 return, while Alexander Rossi won the race there this season.
Indy cars last raced at Portland in 2007 as part of the Champ Car Series. Before that, CART hosted races in Portland from 1984 to 2003 before Champ Car took over from 2005 to 2007. Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais is the only current IndyCar driver who has won an Indy car race at Portland.
“IndyCar couldn’t be more excited to again race in front of one of our strongest fan bases,” IndyCar CEO Mark Miles said in a news release about the schedule. “Portland International Raceway has produced thrilling road racing throughout Indy car history — the 1997 finish still stands as the record for the closest finish on a road or street course.”
Without Watkins Glen, the series doesn’t have a race further northeast than Pocono Raceway, in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
The Northeast is “the greatest need for the series,” Miles said. He added the Midwest is “our home base” and that with races in Indianapolis, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and Iowa, it’s not as likely that the series would soon return to tracks such as Chicagoland or Kentucky.
The IndyCar Series released its final 2018 schedule Thursday. But it might not be the final final schedule. Mexico City isn’t on the schedule — yet.
“I think there is a possibility of adding Mexico City for (2018),” Miles said. “It’s quite close. We’re optimistic.”
IndyCar doesn’t like that three-week gap between races during the summer and would welcome another race if the details can be worked out.