So IndyCar confirmed what we heard from USAToday last night, so now we can delve into this thing:
--The Most Important Thing I think a lot of people may be missing is that the 2009 Schedule, is NOT a bad schedule. We did not lose in the number of races; it maintains a good diversity in tracks and locations AND it was announced with plenty time to spare for teams & the series to go to sponsors and to plan for. After losing so many tracks and waiting so loooong for the announcements in the past thats a great change of pace.
--However, this schedule has left too much to question, and too many puzzling thought processes, especially when all year fans and sponsors and tracks were continually told that 2009 was a clean sheet of paper and it clearly was not, as its the 2008 schedule with 3-4 changes in dates.
--The most puzzling of them all is IndyCar's timid nature in leaving Las Vegas off for fear of not filling the stands (which surely hasn't stopped them from racing at, well name almost any track on the schedule right now). I think they needed to realize that there is nothing embarrassing about 60,000K watching the race in Vegas, the average fan will never catch a thing like the empty stands if they keep us into the action on the track. Even worse here was that they actually asked about racing on a road circuit that, according to friends I've talked to, is barely suitable for sports cars let alone IndyCars.
--Don't mistake this schedule for a 10 Oval/8 Road Course, its 10/9, they just haven't told you yet. While its good to see the IRL is standing its ground on things, it does mean that Surfer's Paradise will have to come to its senses and choose one of the dates the IRL gave them within their schedule (most likely the weekend after Motegi).
--Homestead to take finale, really? While I personally love the layout of that track so I'm glad it is staying, this decision doesn't make sense for a number of reasons.
1) Racing in Florida during Hurricane Season!? Yes obviously its no sure thing, but why risk it? I grew up in New Orleans and I can tell you all it took was one Hurricane Georges forced cancellation of the local music festival and they learned that lesson and no longer schedule the festival near there.
2) One of the best night tracks on the schedule and we move the race to daytime? I mean this is only aesthetic, but what sounds better to you. Sunday Afternoon in Miami, or Saturday Night in Miami?
3) Why are we still using the finale to compete with Sunday afternoon football? I mean I know we'll be competing in some facet but why not choose say 5 or 6pm on Sunday right when the NFL games are off, or even better, lets go Saturday afternoon as we all know early College football is not the time when it draws as everyone is playing their layup games.
4) Two weeks off before the finale? Obviously I expect Surfer's to turn that into one week off, but should it stay, they've learned nothing from watching Champ Car string out the end of their seasons, but this also brings up some puzzles in the schedule:
--We get just 1 oval before Indy? Talk about a lack of build-up; We get 6 ovals in a row? which of course then forces 3 Road courses in a row... It just seems for a series based on diversity it could have been done a little better.
--Why are Iowa and Richmond still right behind each other? Isn't the point of diversity to spread out that parity, give us something new and exciting each week, don't bunch up all the similar contests.
--Why are we waiting till April? We're going to have 7 months off this year, but even worse we've added to the end of schedule moving into football instead of moving ahead to compete with... nothing that is happening in March aside from March Madness. This means we'll get the 24 Hours of Daytona and then have to sit on our asses 2 more months until we see our drivers again.
--Lastly, Any word on Turks and Caicos pre-season?
So while I could nitpick the schedule if I dig far enough, I'll say that I'm happy that the schedule didn't digress from the previous season, but I just think they could have done so much more and that is where they are leaving a lot of fans down.