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IRL confirms Brazil opener for 2010

Edmonton IndyCar start 2009The IndyCar Series has confirmed that it will open its 2010 season with its first race in Brazil - but has not yet finalised the circuit that it will use.

The Brazilian round, which will be on a road or street course, is scheduled for 14 March, and marks the championship's first trip to South America. The Champ Car World Series ran on an oval at former Formula 1 venue Rio from 1996 to 2000.

Indy Racing League commercial boss Terry Angstadt said the exact location of the Brazil race would be announced imminently.

"We have three very interested cities, we have MOUs signed with two, and we will begin really locking down the details," he told a news conference at Kentucky Speedway today.

"We didn't want to force that process for our schedule announcement, but we were confident enough to announce that we would be starting our season in Brazil. You'll see that announcement in the next week to ten days.

"Racing in Brazil we think will bring an incredible new aspect to the IndyCar Series. There is a long and geat history of open wheel racing in Brazil. We have our share of talent and personalities from Brazil."

The Brazilian round is one of two new venues on the calendar, joining the Barber Motorsports Park road course in Alabama, where a large crowd turned out for an exploratory test during the winter. Barber will host its first IndyCar race on 11 April next year.

For the first time in IRL history, the calendar features more road/street courses than ovals, with only eight ovals among its 17 dates.

Both Milwaukee and Richmond have lost their IndyCar races, in Milwaukee's case due to the financial difficulties that the track's promoter has experienced. Angstadt said the IRL had done all it could to maintain a presence at Milwaukee, and that the door was open for the series to return to the venue.

"We worked late into last night and again this morning trying to figure out a formula that may alow us to race there in 2010," he said. "That wasn't possible, but we are continuing an open dialogue with them. It's a great venue, a historic venue and we would like to be there."

The other 2009 venues are all retained, with the only notable change being that Kentucky moves from late July to early September. No decision has yet been taken on whether it will remain a night race.

Angstadt also revealed that a return to the one-mile oval at Loudon in New Hampshire was ultimately rejected because of the difficulty of scheduling a race in suitable weather and around the track's NASCAR Sprint Cup dates.

The Las Vegas superspeedway, and former Champ Car tracks Cleveland and Elkhart Lake remain possibilities for beyond 2010, according to Angstadt.

2010 IndyCar Series schedule:

Date              Circuit
14 March          Brazil circuit tba
28 March          St Petersburg
11 April          Barber
18 April          Long Beach
1 May             Kansas
30 May            Indianapolis 500
12 June           Texas (night race)
20 June           Iowa
4 July            Watkins Glen
18 July           Toronto
25 July           Edmonton
8 August          Lexington
22 August         Sears Point
28 August         Chicagoland (night race)
4 or 5 September  Kentucky
18 September      Motegi
2 October         Homestead

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