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IndyCar Calendar: “Progress” Being Made on Race in Argentina

Written by Archie O'Reilly, Edited by Dan Jones

Credit: Joe Skibinski

President and CEO of Penske Entertainment, Mark Miles, has confirmed that there is progress being made in IndyCar’s bid to hold an international race in Argentina in 2024. It was not included in the calendar release for next year, although there seems to be serious interest from both parties.

“Not a week goes by, including this week, where we don't have great ongoing conversations to try to work out the details to race there in the fall of 2024,” Miles said on Monday afternoon. “So it's not done yet, but we continue to make progress. It's something we're very interested in, as are the authorities in Argentina, and hopefully we can get it over the line.”

There are, however, stumbling blocks that have to be overcome. “There's a lot of inflation in Argentina right now, so that has to be hedged or managed,” Miles added. He also detailed that there are “logistical issues” to iron out as well, in reference to moving the entire IndyCar paddock to a new continent just weeks after the points-paying season concludes in Nashville.

Recent vitriol from a vocal section of Argentinian fans towards Juncos Hollinger Racing driver Callum Ilott isn’t viewed as a deterrent. Agustin Canapino has drawn in a passionate fan base from his home country, but some have overstepped the mark after on-track scuffles at times. The Juncos team should be tasked with ensuring this isn’t an issue that continues.

The passion for IndyCar in Argentina was further made clear last year, when the home hero, Canapino, did multiple demonstration runs at the Autodromo Juan y Oscar Galvez in Buenos Aires, as well as at the Termas de Rio Hondo - the believed location of the IndyCar event should it happen.

Credit: Chris Jones

A race in Argentina is a prospect to keep a close eye on for now, but there was more pertinently confirmation of a few other key pieces of schedule news. One that has drawn dismay has been the omission of Texas - arguably the best race of 2023 - from the calendar amid broadcast complications involving NASCAR and, later in the year, the Olympics.

NASCAR’s desire to remove it from the playoff schedule caused complications. Miles noted that the situation changed ‘toward the end of the process,’ with rumours of NASCAR’s impending change only floating in the last few weeks. Both Texas Motor Speedway and IndyCar promoters wished to find a date, but the inflexibility of the Olympics, as well as the busy summer stretch afterward meant a Texas date was impossible for 2024.

Encouragingly, though, good relationships remain, and the race could return in 2025. “I think there's an opening, and it certainly doesn't mean that we're not going back, the fact that we're not there in 2024,” Miles said. “I think everybody understands we have basically zero flexibility after the Olympics next year, and with NASCAR's move into the spring there, there really wasn't an opportunity.”

This has left the Indianapolis 500 the only superspeedway race on the calendar despite calls for more than 2023’s two, though there will, at least, be a further two short oval races with a double-header at the returning Milwaukee Mile.

“We just love the market,” Miles explained. “There's so much great INDYCAR history there. The investment in improving the facilities for fans and for drivers is important. That was all more than enough to get us to want to go back there.”

Credit: James Black

Still, there will be a gap of 42 days between the first two points-paying races. But, as a consolation, there will be an exhibition, made-for-television-style event at the Thermal Club within that hiatus. IndyCar President, Jay Frye, has described the Million Dollar Challenge race as “kind of a knockout-type thing”.

“That's innovative,” Miles said. “It's different. We had a great experience - we were well hosted at the Thermal Club a year ago for our test, and we thought, listen, when NBC said they were up for a made-for-television event that fans all over the country will be able to see on NBC and to do something really different is I think exciting and appealing.”

The race at Thermal, and the possible venture to Argentina, should both help to increase the coverage and knowledge of IndyCar. This is something that documentary 100 Days to Indy intended to do earlier this year in the run-up to the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500, albeit it was limited by only being available in the USA. That could be set to change.

“I think quite soon we'll have an announcement to make about a streaming partner,” Miles disclosed. “And initially that will be international and probably even an additional place to go to see Season One here in the United States.”


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