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IndyCar to run road race at Speedway in May

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IndyCar will host a road race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, the first time the open-wheel racing series will compete on the hallowed track’s winding interior course.

The eight-member IMS board of directors approved the revolutionary move Thursday.

The race will take place the opening weekend of Indianapolis 500 festivities—May 8-10. The track will undergo reconfiguration this fall and next spring to create more passing zones and vantage points for fans, according to the IMS.

The 98th running of the Indy 500 is scheduled for May 25, with qualifying for the oval-track race scheduled between the two races.

“This event will bring even more energy and action to the Month of May for fans and create another showcase for the diversity and excitement of the Speedway and the IndyCar Series,” said Hulman & Company CEO Mark D. Miles. “The new road race will further enhance the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the premier motorsports destination in the world and direct an even brighter spotlight on the Indianapolis 500."

The IMS was mum on further details, deferring to a media event Oct. 1.

The move is the highest-profile break from tradition yet in Miles' tenure. He became CEO of the family-owned firm that operates the race track in December. IBJ reported earlier this month that he was investigating the possibility of running a road race at the Speedway, in addition to other ways to overhaul "Month of May" festivities.

Until this year, racing IndyCars on the IMS road course has only been a pipe dream, often talked about but never seriously considered by the Hulman-George family that runs the Speedway.

The IMS road course has hosted series including the Formula One race from 2000-2007, the annual MotoGP event that debuted in 2008, and the Grand-Am Rolex Series that first competed at IMS in 2012.

The course has been criticized by F1 and more recently, MotoGP racers, for just about everything including being bumpy, dusty, slick and boring.

Miles has said that an IndyCar road race would be intended to restore some horsepower to May.

“We only had a few thousand people on [Indianapolis 500] opening day this year and we keep doing the same things and it's not working,” Miles recently told Racer.com. “I want to protect the Indianapolis 500 but we need to look at what we can do to help the race and IndyCar. We need to make more out of the month and I don’t see how starting off with a road race could hurt it.”

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  • Before Ma gave the keys to TOney
    they would cut the grass, open the gates and rake in millions. Now they are in a swamp, up to their keesters in alligators, spending money.
  • WRONG
    I love the Indy 500 and Indy cars. Two races in one month? You can't people to attend ONE race, so you add another the same month with iffier weather than Mem. weekend. Have it some other time - not during our formerly precious month of May. These people are mad!
  • IZodless and Gone-Daddy Too
    The clothing brand at one point had aggressively marketed drivers as a cornerstone of television campaigns and tossed house parties at select races -- but both have vanished in recent seasons. IRL- something that can't be profitably marketed - keep spending your children's inheritance
  • TOney and Defender
    killed American Open Wheel Racing. Thank you.
  • I LUV It!
    This is the gratest idea by the braintrust at 16th and Jonestown since the inception of zip-lines, 50G sidepod impact lights and the mother of all ideas...yes, you guessed it, the REAR ATTENUATOR! It will dilute the 500, not bring moar interest. Who wants to see the ugliest cars in the auto racing universe (that even it's own momma (Dallara) won't build bodykits for) TWO times in 20 days? Have things gotten SO bad at finding tracks to host these faux Indycar races that they gotta mung up even the most precious of things Indy...even more? Wasn't the NASCAR, GrandAM,F1, MotoGP days enough, now they got to do this? Mark Miles, this is GREAT work you are doing. I have another great idea for youse rocket scientists....an INDIANAPOLIS TRIPLE HEADER MAY MADNESS MONTH. YES, a Market Square street race on May 5th, a Indy road course even on May 12th...then just the usual 8 days of May at the ohval after that for the diluted 500. It will sell like hotcakes!!!! I LOVE THIS IDEA...dilute the 500 even more!!! 20years ago this wasn't all necessary...now the events are all meaningless. Fantasitic work Hulman-Goerge family, you've outdone yourselves this time!!!!
  • I await the day...
    I await the day that the Hulman George family can get control of the sport back! Listen to johnny the defensive disciple...he knows they keep getting professional leaders with sporting experience but they always fall to the little whispers in the ear from those old CART bullies like Penske, Ganassi and Andretti. I say kick those old CART interlopers out and lets finally fix this thing for good once and for all! Oh wait? I thought Miles was an Indy Sports Property God. He must know what he is doing because he is following the Boston Consulting Group recommendations. I just didn't know those rascally CART guys own the Boston Consulting Group too. Or, something. Hoodwinked? I think I know who has gotten hoodwinked. I think millions of fans over the years know too. But never change johnny the defensive disciple. You add so much to the sport and in your own tiny way have helped get it to where it is today.
  • Elevation Changes
    The road course is boring. They've got elevation changes in the golf course, we need a few in the road course! Eliminate the back straight of the road course. Can't see much there anyway. Build more twisties & undulate through the golf course. Totally reconfig the section by the 4th turn (RC turns 10-15) & incorporate some sort of elevated cork screw that comes charging down onto the north oval short chute just past the 3rd turn. Then zoom all the way around the 4th turn & down the main straight away. Now that would be world class!
  • Why ?
    Recall that back in 1996, the CART/IRL split argument was based on too many road races in CART, too many foreign drivers, etc. Now look at Indycar - it has morphed into CART. Too many road races, not enough ovals. Why not focus on getting more good ovals - like Michigan, Phoenix, others back on the schedule instead of these gimmicks that are likely to have only novelty value.
  • Will they run in the rain?
    Personally I much prefer road courses to ovals, where half the race time seems to happen under the yellow flag.
  • Too early
    I agree. Opening Day for the 500 should remain Opening Day. Love the idea of a second Indy Car event on the road course, but later in the year, say after the Brickyard, makes far more sense to me.
  • I Worry About Karma
    Facts: American series based on ovals make it over the long haul. American series based on non-ovals fail. So where are we in IndyCar? 70% non-oval and headed for more, even at the birthplace of the genre. If that does not tempt fate I do not know what will. IMS management seems content to be hoodwinked into thinking making the same mistakes over and over again (inspired by those who have actually failed, twice) will result in different outcomes. If they were actually smart they would reinvent for this century the genre their IMS ancestors invented and perfected way back when (then basically gave away for free to NASCAR). I understand the need to think out of the box but they have chosen a direction that has always led to failure. They are not enhancing the 500, they are diluting it.
  • Why not make Indy...
    ...a road race? A 500-mile Endurance Road Race? Ok, after the 100th Running in May 2016. So that is three more Indianapolis 500's and three road races of shorter distance to get things taken care of. Then, for May 2017, start a new era. In fact, I like the idea of it being run under the lights. The Indianapolis Grand Prix 500. Miles thinks outside the box. Yes. But how about throwing the box away altogether? I like the idea and it may breath new life into the Series. 2017 Schedule: April - Long Beach Grand Prix April - Alabama Indy Twin 150s (Saturday/Sunday) May - Indianapolis Grand Prix 500 June - Grand Prix of Mosport June - The Duels in Detroit (Saturday/Sunday) July - Mid-Ohio Twin 150s (Saturday/Sunday) August - The Streets of Providence August - Road America 6-Hour Enduro (2 drivers) September - The Houston Twin 200s (Night) Ovals are getting it done anymore and the Indianapolis 500 is sort of yesteryear with the younger crowd. Do this and the sport has a great chance.
  • Endurance
    Yea like near the Brickyard 400 -- a race that takes all you can stand to endure!
  • Too early in the season
    I really like MM's ability to think outside the box, but why not later in the year in conjunction with an endurance sports car race?

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