The plan early in the year was to have the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule out by the weekend of the season finale at Sonoma Raceway. As the saying goes, though, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. We’re still awaiting the finalized 2016 schedule, and although we have some venues and dates confirmed, there’s still a lot in regards to 2016 that is in flux. The positive news is that after much protestation, hopeful wishing, and shedding of sacrificial blood by the IndyCar fandom, IndyCar will return the famous Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we’re still waiting to hear the fate of the races at the two short ovals from last season, the Iowa Corn 250 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA and ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at the Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, WI are yet to be determined.
Creating a race schedule is much like trying to play hyperdimentional Tetris. After being the Kansas City Region SCCA RallyCross Chair last year, I have a much deeper appreciation for the challenge of solidifying a race schedule on time. Since the beginning of the 2015 IndyCar season, however, I was skeptical of the goal of having the 2016 schedule released by late August. The challenge facing INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles is the ongoing pressure of the cost of sanction fees and event organization for new and struggling venues. The Boston GP is experiencing some severe sticker shock when it comes to the cost of preparing a street course and hiring the requisite security personnel.
According to a recent article in the Boston Herald, the Massachusetts Port Authority claims that it will take $500,000 to make the necessary improvements to the roadways and sidewalks in preparation for the Boston GP, an expenditure they are not willing to make. In contrast to the protestations of Massport, the organizers of the Boston GP have yet to make a single request for public funds. Street circuits are difficult to prepare, especially inaugural events such as the Boston GP, but when the the local government officials are already making noises about pulling the plug on the event, the likelihood of racing around the Seaport District is looking less and less probable.