IndyCar Pushes Barber Opener Back One Week

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The NTT IndyCar Series opener at Barber Motorsports Park will shift to April 18. (IndyCar Photo)
The NTT IndyCar Series opener at Barber Motorsports Park will shift to April 18. (IndyCar Photo)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – The start of the NTT IndyCar Series schedule is getting moved back another week, but this time it’s not because of COVID-19.

The season-opening race at Barber Motorsports Park has been moved from April 11 to April 18 so that NBC can broadcast the event on network television. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was originally scheduled for NBCSN on April 11, the same day as The Masters golf tournament, which is on CBS.

Three sources who asked not to be named, each with knowledge of the schedule change, confirmed the news to SPEED SPORT. Gene Hallman, the president and CEO of Bruno Event Team, the company that operates the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber, also confirmed the news to the Indy Star on Thursday.

Because of some previous shuffling of the schedule that moved the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg from March 7 to April 25, the road course race at Barber Motorsports Park became the season opener. Rather than televise the race on NBCSN, NBC officials chose to move the event to network television instead.

The schedule change is expected to be officially announced on Friday by IndyCar.

By moving the race at Barber Motorsports Park to April 18, it will create a scenario of four-straight races over three consecutive weekends that also includes the street course race in St. Petersburg, Fla., on April 25 and a doubleheader weekend at Texas Motor Speedway May 1-2. Following that, the series heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a potential pre-Indianapolis 500 test followed by the GMR Grand Prix on May 15 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The 105th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 30. Penske Corp. President Bud Denker told SPEED SPORT on Tuesday that the size of the crowd allowed into the speedway for this year’s Indianapolis 500 has yet to be determined and remains under discussion because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.