Late Thursday, IndyCar briefly released its provisional 2012 schedule on its website, with 15 race weekends posted. Later in the evening, IndyCar took the schedule down. Still, following Thursday's announcement of investigation results into Dan Wheldon's fatal accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said he wanted to have the schedule released either later in the day or on Friday.
The season is set to open with the first round on the streets of St. Petersburg March 25, followed a week later by the first of three permanent road courses at Barber Motorsports Park April 1. Two more street races – Long Beach and Brazil – continue in similar dates as in 2011, April 15 and 29, respectively.
The first of four projected oval visits comes at the 96th Indianapolis 500, May 27 – which therefore makes the Month of May the first race opportunity for the series' new Dallara DW12 chassis, which is undergoing development to fix balance and weight distribution issues. Teams received their first chassis on Thursday.
June provides the second month with three weekends, as it stands now. Detroit falls the week after Indianapolis on June 3, with a return to Belle Isle Park and the same circuit configuration as the series ran when it last raced in 2007 and 2008.
There's been a question as to whether Texas Motor Speedway would continue on the schedule given the debate over 1.5-mile, high-banked ovals in the aftermath of Wheldon's accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. As it stands, IndyCar lists a June 9 date at Texas – but no further details listed as to whether it will be a single race or doubleheader round counted as two races, as it was in 2011. There has been no official confirmation from either the series or TMS regarding the return, but track president Eddie Gossage has pushed to have his track remain on the calendar
Iowa is next, slated for Saturday, June 23, and is the third and last oval race before Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Sept.15 – which at the moment, stands as the season finale. Of the six races in between, all but two are on temporary circuits. Toronto and Edmonton occur after Iowa, with Mid-Ohio set for an Aug. 5 date.
The series' first trip to Qingdao, China, on a yet-to-be-revealed 3.8-mile street circuit occurs Aug. 19, with races at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway and the streets of Baltimore scheduled for the next two weeks thereafter. Baltimore's race organizers still have to work with the city to pay off a reported financial shortfall.
IndyCar indicated on Friday that it plans to officially announce the schedule next week. The schedule as it was posted on IndyCar's website is listed below:
Provisional 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule:
March 25 St. Petersburg, Fla. (street course)
April 1 Birmingham, Ala. (road course)
April 15 Long Beach, Calif. (street course)
April 29 Sao Paulo, Brazil (street course)
May 27 Indianapolis 500, In. (oval)
June 3 Detroit, Mich. (street course)
June 9 Fort Worth, Texas (oval)
June 23 Newton, Iowa (oval)
July 8 Toronto, Ontario (street course)
July 22 Edmonton, Alberta (airport course)
Aug. 5 Lexington, Ohio (road course)
Aug. 19 Qingdao, China (street course)
Aug. 26 Sonoma, Calif. (road course)
Sept. 2 Baltimore, Md. (street course)
Sept. 15 Fontana, Calif. (oval)