IndyCar announced Monday it won't be replacing China, which was canceled, on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. A much discussed and somewhat anticipated round at Road America (LEFT), which was considered the likely replacement round to fall on the American Le Mans Series weekend Aug. 16-18, will not be added, leaving the schedule at 15 races.
"After carefully considering all possible options for an additional race, we felt it was in our best interest to keep our schedule at its current 15-event lineup," said IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. "We want to make sure that when we add events to our roster they have long-term potential and are given every opportunity to be successfully promoted. The more we explored, the more we felt like we were rushing what could be good, long-lasting opportunities for the sport.
"I thank all of the promoters who entertained the possibility of hosting the IZOD IndyCar Series this season. It certainly validated what we already knew – there's a lot of interest from venues across North America in hosting our sport."
Title sponsor IZOD said it supports the decision to cap the 2012 schedule at 15 events.
"As the entitlement partner of the series, we agree that it is in the best interest of the series to focus on a long-term strategy for the future schedule instead of a quick fix for this year," said Mike Kelly, executive vp of the PVH Marketing Group, IZOD's parent company.
The season finale will be held Sept. 15 as originally scheduled at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. However, officials opted to extend the race distance from 400 to 500 miles, as it was when the race was run under CART. The last 500-mile Indy car race at the track was run in 2002, and won by Jimmy Vasser (RIGHT).
"We wanted to do something special to enhance the excitement to the season finale and renew the tradition of 500-mile open-wheel races in Southern California," said Bernard. "We think it's something our fans will enjoy and adds another element to what is already shaping up to be an exciting championship battle."