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IndyCar releases its 2014 schedule

<p>IndyCar announced its 2014 schedule on Thursday, with 18 races to be contested within a five-month period.</p>

Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - IndyCar announced its 2014 schedule on Thursday, with 18 races to be contested within a five-month period.

The season begins March 30 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. and concludes Aug. 30 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

As previously announced, the inaugural road-course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be held on May 10, which is 15 days before the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500. Brazil and Baltimore have been dropped from the schedule. However, IndyCar officials have noted that the street-course race in Sao Paulo, Brazil could still be added to the end of next year's schedule. The series has competed there each season since 2010.

For the second year in a row, Detroit, Houston and Toronto will each host two full-distance races on the same weekend. Houston's doubleheader weekend is scheduled for June 28-29, which is three weeks after the series' event at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar ran both of its Houston races earlier this month.

The date for The Milwaukee Mile has been moved from mid-June to Aug. 17, while Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. is slated two weeks later than it normally has been to April 26.

"We wanted to have more consistency so that fans can know once our season starts we're going to be out on front of them throughout and until the end," said Mark Miles, CEO, Hulman and Co., the parent of IndyCar. "We decided to condense the season in order to accomplish that, and we'll stop on Labor Day weekend, so it's a more condensed North American circuit, but it's not less racing. It's kind of a transition toward 2015 when we grow back again.

"We have a clear strategy about the calendar, which will take us a couple of years to totally reveal and put into place, but I'm confident it will make for a more compelling racing schedule."

The 2013 IndyCar season concludes on Saturday in Fontana. Scott Dixon heads into the 500-mile race there with a 25-point lead over Helio Castroneves.

The 2014 IndyCar Series schedule:

March 30 Streets of St. Petersburg 1.806-mile street course

April 13 Streets of Long Beach 1.968-mile street course

April 26 Barber Motorsports Park 2.38-mile road course

May 10 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.343-mile road course *

May 25 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval

May 31 Streets of Belle Isle (Detroit) 2.36 street course

June 1 Streets of Belle Isle (Detroit) 2.36 street course

June 7 Texas Motor Speedway 1.5-mile oval

June 28 Reliant Park (Houston) 1.683-mile street course

June 29 Reliant Park (Houston) 1.683-mile street course

July 6 Pocono Raceway 2.5-mile oval

July 12 Iowa Speedway 0.875-mile oval

July 19 Streets of Toronto 1.75-mile street course

July 20 Streets of Toronto 1.75-mile street course

Aug. 3 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course

Aug. 17 The Milwaukee Mile 1-mile oval

Aug. 24 Raceway at Sonoma 2.385-mile road course

Aug. 30 Auto Club Speedway 2-mile oval

* The Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be run on a 2.343-mile, 14-turn road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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