IndyCar has delayed the start of the 2021 season

IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

The original 2021 IndyCar season opener has been pushed back from early March to late April, altering the season-opening date and venue.

The streets of St. Petersburg, Florida had been scheduled to host the 2020 IndyCar season opener in mid-March prior to the coronavirus pandemic. That race ended up being shifted to the season finale in late October.

Despite the fact that this race, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, was contested successfully to close out the season, the venue will not be hosting the 2021 season opener as initially scheduled.

IndyCar has announced that the start of the season has postponed by more than one month. The originally scheduled season opener at the track, which was scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 7, has been pushed back to Sunday, April 25 as a result of pandemic-related restrictions.

Here is what Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles had to say about the decision.

"“It’s not surprising that an event of this magnitude, scheduled for the first week of March, is still subject to the implications of the pandemic. We’re delighted we were able to work with Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration and Green Savoree Racing Promotions to find a more suitable date, which helps consolidate the beginning of our schedule and allows us to stay on NBC network television.”"

Here is what Kim Green, the co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, the organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, had to add.

"“We appreciate the officials at INDYCAR for their support in setting a new date for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and also to Mayor Kriseman and his team at the City of St. Petersburg for identifying a time when it will be conducive for more fans to attend. We are grateful to keep the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the springtime window and also maintain the live national broadcast coverage of the race on NBC.”"

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The 17-race season is now scheduled to begin at Sunday, April 11 at Barber Motorsports Park, although there is speculation that this race will also be postponed to Sunday, April 18.

Now instead of having more than one month between the first two races of the season, IndyCar is scheduled to run four races in 22 days, or 15 days if the race at Barber Motorsports Park gets pushed back by a week. Texas Motor Speedway is scheduled to host a doubleheader on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2.

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This move follows IndyCar’s decision to move the race on the streets of Long Beach from Sunday, April 18 to Sunday, September 26, making it the new season finale. The season had originally been slated to end up Sunday, September 19 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, which is still set to host a race on that date.