Highlighted by a return to Pocono Raceway and the institution of a "Triple Crown" award, the IZOD IndyCar Series has released its 2013 schedule.
The slate of 19 races over 16 event weekends, will again feature a mix of short ovals, superspeedways, permanent road courses and street courses. In addition to returning to Pocono, the series will also add a race through the streets of Houston.
Furthermore, the series will also pay $1 million to any driver who can win all three of the oval races at Indianapolis, Pocono and Auto Club Speedway, with $250,000 going to any driver who can win two of the three events.
The return to Pocono marks the first time since 1989 that the speedway has hosted an open-wheel race.
"Pocono is deep in open-wheel, oval racing tradition and has produced some of the most memorable races in Indy car history," said Randy Bernard, CEO, IndyCar. "The addition of Pocono allows us to bring back a version of the Triple Crown, restoring a popular legacy of our sport to reward the champion of our three longest races of the season."
Also, the series announced that there will be Saturday-Sunday doubleheaders at Belle Isle, Toronto and Houston. And that one of the doubleheader races each weekend will feature a standing start, which IndyCar has never previously used. The other race will use a standard rolling start.
Once again, the series will open in St. Petersburg and close the season out with a 500-mile event at Auto Club Speedway. In total, there will be 10 races on street courses, six on ovals and three on natural road courses.
"It is important to provide opportunities to generate additional exposure for our sport by expanding our racing schedule," Bernard said. "We feel that our 2013 schedule will certainly challenge the fastest, most versatile drivers in the world with a strong mix of ovals and road and street courses, culminating in 19 races."
2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Schedule
March 24 Streets of St. Petersburg St. Petersburg, Fla. 1.8-mile street course
April 7 Barber Motorsports Park Birmingham, Ala. 2.38-mile road course
April 21 Streets of Long Beach Long Beach, Calif. 1.968-mile street course
May 5 Streets of Sao Paulo Sao Paulo, Brazil 2.6-mile street course
May 26 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indianapolis 2.5-mile oval
June 1 Raceway at Belle Isle Park Detroit 2.07-mile street course
June 2 Raceway at Belle Isle Park Detroit 2.07 mile street course
June 8 Texas Motor Speedway Fort Worth, Texas 1.5-mile oval
June 15 The Milwaukee Mile West Allis, Wis. 1-mile oval
June 23 Iowa Speedway Newton, Iowa .875-mile oval
July 7 Pocono International Raceway Long Pond, Pa. 2.5-mile oval
July 13 Streets of Toronto Toronto 1.75-mile street course
July 14 Streets of Toronto Toronto 1.75-mile street course
Aug. 4 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, Ohio 2.258-mile road course
Aug. 25 Raceway at Sonoma Sonoma, Calif. 2.303-mile road course
Sept. 1 Streets of Baltimore Baltimore 2.04-mile street course
Oct. 5 Reliant Park Houston 1.7-mile street course
Oct. 6 Reliant Park Houston 1.7-mile street course
Oct. 19 Auto Club Speedway Fontana, Calif. 2-mile oval