IndyCar has announced another expected delay

Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

IndyCar has further delayed the start of the 2021 season, a move that was expected even before the initial delay was announced several weeks ago.

The 17-race 2021 IndyCar season was initially scheduled to get underway where it traditionally does, albeit where the 2020 season ended due to the coronavirus pandemic: on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The season was scheduled to begin on Sunday, March 7.

However, that race ended up getting postponed to Sunday, April 25 as a result of pandemic-related restrictions.

That move shifted the season opener to Barber Motorsports Park, which was scheduled to host the season’s second race on Sunday, April 11. However, a RACER report that noted the impending postponement of the St. Petersburg race also reported that the Barber race was also likely to be postponed.

While it wasn’t official at the time the St. Petersburg race was pushed back by seven weeks, now that move has been confirmed, further delaying the start of the upcoming 2021 season.

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The season is now scheduled to begin six weeks after it was initially scheduled to do so, as Barber’s new race date is Sunday, April 18.

All three of what were the first three races on the schedule have now been pushed back, as the race on the streets of Long Beach, California was initially scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 18 but was pushed back to Sunday, September 26, making it the new season finale.

With this latest change, however, IndyCar is now slated to have six of the season’s first eight races broadcast live on NBC, with the season opener at the 17-turn, 2.38-mile (3.830-kilometer) road course in Birmingham, Alabama now slated to be among those six.

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

"“The schedule changes we’ve had, while partially prompted by ongoing pandemic conditions, give us a powerful start to the 2021 season. With six of our first eight races on network television and all in a more compact timeline, it’s an enormous opportunity to drive even more momentum as we deliver our exciting brand of racing to our fans.”"

Here is what Zoom Motorsports CEO Gene Hallman had to add.

"“Zoom Motorsports and Barber Motorsports Park jumped at the opportunity to have our event showcased on NBC network television. We are proud of the tremendous support that INDYCAR receives annually here in the heart of the deep south. The facility and museum are world class, and we look forward to highlighting George Barber’s vision in what has become a bucket list destination for all race fans.”"

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As a result of this change, the 2021 season is scheduled to get underway with four races in a span of just 15 days, as Texas Motor Speedway is scheduled to host races on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2.