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IndyCar unveils 2014 schedule that again will end in Fontana

Open-Wheel RacingAuto RacingLabor DayMichael WachaClayton Kershaw

The IndyCar series unveiled a 2014 schedule that vastly condenses its season but will again conclude at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

Next year's 18-race schedule stretches from March 30 to Aug. 30 during the Labor Day weekend, and will end with back-to-back races in California -- at Sonoma on Aug. 24 and Fontana the following week.

This year's 19-race season began March 24 and will end Saturday night at the two-mile Auto Club Speedway oval.

"The most conspicuous change is obviously at the end" with the two races in California, said Mark Miles, chief executive of Hulman & Co., the parent of the Izod IndyCar Series.

The schedule also means IndyCar is "getting rid of these off-times where we kind of appeared and then went away for, I thought, too long and then came back," Miles told reporters Friday at the Fontana track.

For instance, the series was idle between the Sept. 1 race in Baltimore and the Oct. 5 race in Houston.

Miles also said "we think we'll have a better opportunity to have more fans pay more attention to the culmination of the IndyCar championship if we do that on Labor Day [weekend], before the NFL and college football get into full fury."

A third IndyCar race in California, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, will keep its traditional spot in the spring and be run April 13 next year. The Indianapolis 500 will be May 25.

IndyCar returned to Fontana last year after a seven-year absence. Last year's race was in mid-September, this year it's in mid-October and next year it will be Aug. 30.

Asked if the changing dates were a liability for selling tickets, Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker said, "It's always nice to have a firm place on the schedule because people do plan in advance."

But she said "the good news" about the 2014 schedule was "this announcement is being made now, so people have a whole year to plan for it."

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