The Indy Racing League began in 1996 as an oval-based open wheel circuit to support the Indianapolis 500. The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marked the first non-oval event in series history in 2005, and times will continue to change in 2009.
The newly released IRL schedule features eight non-ovals, including the season-opening Grand Prix on April 5, out of 18 events with another street course addition possible at Surfer's Paradise, Australia. The IRL will hold seven non-oval points races this season.
The collapse of the rival Champ Car series freed several street/road course markets, and the IRL continues to absorb them as it has several teams. Among the former Champ Car venues added to the schedule are historic Long Beach and Toronto, which is presented by Grand Prix of St. Petersburg promoter Andretti Green Promotions. Edmonton joined the schedule this season.
Homestead-Miami Speedway, which had hosted the season opener since 2002 but failed to generate a following, will be the site of the season's final race on Oct. 11. Australia could be added to the schedule in the three off weeks between the Sept. 19 Motegi, Japan date and Homestead.
DEAL FOR NEWMAN: Ryan Newman has reached a verbal agreement to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing next season, ESPN.com reported.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.