2012 provisional schedule released

During yesterday’s press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that centered on the investigation of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway crash that killed Dan Wheldon last October, INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard said that the long-awaited 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule would be released within the next two days.

However, while INDYCAR has yet to officially announce next year’s docket, a Twitter follower with the handle of @Fuerfragen managed to find a provisional version released by the series on its website Thursday night.

As expected, the provisional schedule features a reduced amount of ovals, with just four on the schedule as of now: The 96th Indianapolis 500 on May 27, the Texas Motor Speedway round on June 9, the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway on June 23, and the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Sept. 15.

Two new events are currently in the mix. Belle Isle Park in Detroit is set to welcome back open-wheel racing on June 9 with the Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix, while the series will make its first-ever appearance in China with an August 19th street race at Qingdao, a coastal city of nearly nine million people on the Yellow Sea.

A second edition of the financially beleaguered Baltimore Grand Prix is slated as the next-to-last race of the season on Sept. 2. Baltimore delivered an interesting race in its first effort, but the company that runs the event owes a massive $12 million debt — almost half of which is past due taxes to the city and payments to vendors according to the Baltimore Sun.

The season opener, however, is no surprise at all, with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg raising the curtain on March 25.

Five tracks that staged races in 2011 will not do so next year according to the provisional schedule: Milwaukee, New Hampshire, Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, Kentucky and Las Vegas.

Here’s how everything stacks up at this point and time…Apparently, there may be more changes on the way, too. So let’s hold off on the OFFICIAL wailing and gnashing of teeth for now.

March 25 – St. Petersburg, FL. (street)

April 1 – Birmingham, AL (road)

April 15 – Long Beach, CA (street)

April 29 – Sao Paulo, BRA (street)

May 27 – Indianapolis 500 (2.5-mile oval)

June 3 – Detroit, MI (street)

June 9 – Fort Worth, TX(1.5-mile oval)

June 23 – Newton, IA (7/8-mile oval)

July 8 – Toronto, Ontario, CAN (street)

July 22 – Edmonton, Alberta, CAN (airport)

Aug. 5 – Lexington, OH (road)

Aug. 19 – Qingdao, CHN (street)

Aug. 26 – Sonoma, CA (road)

Sept. 2 – Baltimore, MD (street)

Sept. 15 – Fontana, CA (oval)