IndyCar changes race distances at four 2013 events to discourage fuel-mileage racing image

IndyCar announced on Monday it has changed the race distances for four events during the 2013 season.

The season-opening race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida (March 24), will be 10 laps longer, for a total of 110 laps (198 miles), while the Long Beach, California, race (April 21) will be shortened by 5 laps to 80 (157.4 miles). The Milwaukee Mile race scheduled for June 15 has been increased from 225 laps to 250. Finally, the August 4 road-course event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be five laps longer for a total of 90 laps (203 miles).

According to IndyCar, new race distances will discourage fuel-mileage racing and therefore better match traditional fuel windows at each of the four racetracks. “Changing the distances at these races will hopefully eliminate the strategy of saving fuel from the drop of the green flag. That will enable our teams and drivers to race hard for the full distance and improve the event’s entertainment value for the fans,” IndyCar Series race director Beaux Barfield said.

IndyCar also announced the television start times for each of its 19 races this upcoming season. NBC Sports Network will televise the first four events, while ABC will broadcast six of the next seven races starting with the May 26 Indianapolis 500.