The IRL goes road racing

The Indy Racing League will feature road courses next year with two non-oval events planned for the 16-race calendar next year. The IRL will race at Sears Point in California on August 28 and at Watkins Glen in New York State on September 25. It will be the first time that Indycars have raced at Sears Point since the 1970s and at Watkins Glen since 1981. The IRL will be seen running on the old F1 circuit at the Glen, which was used for the United States Grand Prix between 1961 and 1980. It is planned that the IRL will also have a street race in 2005 with an event at St Petersburg in Florida on the cards for April 3. The IRL is also hoping to add a road race in Portland in 2006.

The news is bound to make the series more attractive to drivers who have been turned away by IRL's all-oval format.

It is also worth noting that there is a big gap on the new IRL calendar in the early part of the season, which includes April 10, the date of the Long Beach Grand Prix. This is currently held for rival Champ Cars but it is thought that the IRL left the date open just in case the Champ Cars series is not around next season.

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