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Verizon IndyCar Series' Momentum Shows in 2016 Schedule

The feeling of nostalgia, consistency and new-venue excitement stand as the three most obvious pillars of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule unveiled this week. 

By the numbers, IndyCar fans will have five ovals, five road courses, and five street races to fill their calendars, and with an earlier start and a later finish to the 16-race championship, there’s more time to enjoy America’s defining open-wheel series.

Highlighted by the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in May, IndyCar has added two more pieces of history to 2016 with returns to the 1-mile oval in Phoenix and the beloved 4-mile road course in Elkhart Lake. 

“When you look at the schedule for 2016 there is a lot to be excited about,” said Juan Montoya, who drove his No. 2 Team Penske Chevy to the runner-up position in the 2015 championship. “We are adding a great oval in Phoenix. The new banking they put in a few years ago is really going to play into the strengths of our cars. We’ve all had the opportunity to see what our cars will do at Road America and it’s clear that we will put on a great race there. There is just a lot of momentum in the Verizon IndyCar Series right now and the new schedule just reinforces that.”

Coupled with a big new street circuit in Boston and two stops in California, IndyCar will cover the coasts, the Midwest, and the south on a six-month, 191-day tour of the United States and Canada.

Fans have been asking for Phoenix and Road America to find their way onto the IndyCar schedule for years, and of the major takeaways from the new calendar, there’s a definite feeling the final roster of events was made with input from open-wheel racing’s most fervent supporters.

Stretching the season into September is another area where fan and team input has resulted in significant changes, and despite the three incoming events and the three outgoing tracks (NOLA, Milwaukee, Fontana), core events at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Barber, Indy, Detroit, Texas, Iowa, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Pocono, and Sonoma provide the framework for familiar races set at familiar points during the year.

2015 Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves recognizes the possibilities for great racing contained within the new calendar, and echoes the optimism many have expressed since its release.

“I'm excited about the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule with some new venues and better spacing in between races,” said the driver of the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda. “I like the fact that we will have a new oval, road course, and street circuit to change things up a little, which will be fun and challenging. I'm really looking forward on having my first go at Road America in an IndyCar, from what I hear from various drivers that tested there, it's almost like a video game with incredible grip, stopping power and high speed."

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