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Houston dropped from 2015 IndyCar slate

FONTANA, Calif. (AP) - The Grand Prix of Houston has been dropped from the IndyCar schedule for 2015.

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IndyCar ran a doubleheader race at the NRG Park track the past two years, but IndyCar president Mark Miles said Friday that scheduling conflicts prompted the change. Houston's departure from the schedule likely opens a June date for an IndyCar race in Toronto.

''We look forward to a continued relationship with (race promoter) Mi-Jack Promotions and will always keep our options open when it comes to an important market like Houston,'' Miles said.

The Grand Prix of Houston also was on the IndyCar schedule from 1998-01 and 2006-07. Mi-Jack Promotions president Michael T. Lanigan was disappointed to lose the event, but didn't want to run another race in the heat of a Texas summer after disappointing attendance this year.

''As we learned this year, the weather in June is not ideal for our fans, so we discussed many options for 2015,'' Lanigan said. ''Ultimately, we were unable to find a date that was agreeable.''

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, a former Formula 1 track located 50 miles northeast of Toronto, is hoping to land an IndyCar race next season. IndyCar can't run its usual Toronto street circuit race at Exhibition Place next year due to the Pan American Games in the city.

Carlos Huertas and Simon Pagenaud won the back-to-back Houston races this year, but the Grand Prix's two years also featured Dario Franchitti's horrific crash in 2013.

The four-time IndyCar series champion was seriously injured at the temporary Houston track in 2013, forcing his retirement from racing.

Franchitti's car flew into a fence, hurting 13 spectators and a series official. Franchitti's doctors advised him to quit his sport after he was left with a fractured spine, a broken ankle and a concussion.

Houston's departure is the latest news in the gradual revelation of IndyCar's 2015 schedule. This week, the circuit announced an April 12 date for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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