IndyCar: The major downside after a strong opening race

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) /

The 2023 IndyCar season opener was about as entertaining as a season opener has been, but there is one downside following St. Petersburg.

The 2023 IndyCar season-opening race was a wild one in more ways than one. Two cars got airborne, the two leaders tangled twice in the exact same spot, with the second time resulting in disaster for both, and several other contenders were taken out by ill-conceived maneuvers on the tight streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Then the would-be race winner and season-opening points leader had a fluke mechanical issue for literally no more than a split second with just three laps remaining, relegating him to second place.

One race into the 17-race season, pretty much everybody except race winner Marcus Ericsson, whose four career wins have all come in relatively chaotic races that have been red flagged, is mad at somebody in the 27-car field, which has actually become quite a rarity in IndyCar in recent years.

The downside? Now we’ve reached IndyCar offseason 2.0.

This has been an issue with the IndyCar schedule before. The season gets underway on the streets of St. Petersburg, and then there is no more action for what seems like a very long time.

This year, fans have to wait 28 days — almost a full month — for race number two at Texas Motor Speedway, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 2.

It marks the third four-week break between the season’s first two races in the last six years. It also happened in 2018 and 2020.

On one hand, it builds up the suspense after an eventful opener. On another, are we really looking for suspense at this point, one race into a 17-race season?

Much of the momentum gained from an entertaining round one, especially among casual fans or those who may be new to the sport, has the potential to go out the window.

Surely there is a happy medium somewhere that changes the fact that the longest break in the schedule, other than the offseason, happens between the season’s first two races.

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The second race on the 2023 IndyCar schedule is the PPG 375, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 2 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race is set to be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to start a free trial of FuboTV and don’t miss it!