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IndyCar sets Apr. 12 New Orleans date

AVONDALE, La. (AP) - The IndyCar series has committed to an April 12 race date for next season's inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.

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Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne joined IndyCar president Mark Miles and other government officials for a formal announcement of the date and other details about the event on Wednesday afternoon at NOLA Motorsports Park, which will host the race.

The IndyCar series confirmed in May that it planned to bring a race to the New Orleans area in 2015, but the race calendar for next season had not been set at that time.

The 2015 race - the marquee event of three days of festivities and qualifying at the track beginning April 10 - will take place on the same weekend as the French Quarter Festival, a popular music festival held in and around the historic neighborhood for which it is named.

The NOLA Motorsports Park is a private, $60 million facility about 14 miles southwest of downtown New Orleans. It features a 13-turn, 2.67-mile road course that has already hosted AMA motorcycle racing and Indy Lights, as well as the Pro Mazda and USF2000 series. The track is also undergoing $2.6 million in improvements designed in part to increase the number of passing opportunities and also to meet the safety standards of high-spec racing, such as IndyCar or NASCAR.

IndyCar, the top North American-based open wheel racing series, has an agreement to bring races to the track for at least the next three seasons, though the hope is to make it a long-term annual event.

NOLA Motorsports Park had requested dates during either late March or in June, which are generally slower periods for the New Orleans tourism industry, but the racing series was unable to make those dates work for its 2015 season.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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