Scheduler to the Rescue
Being a Scheduler means you’re responsible for the daily, weekly, and long term activities of a certain individual. You’re the person who tells them where to go, the one who set up all the meetings and events, the one that coordinates travel, and decides what parts of the city, state, or even nation to send them to. Basically – you run an individual’s life. Prior to my life as an attorney I spent a few years working as a scheduler for a statewide elected official. I was responsible with making sure this individual had meetings with all the people they needed to have meetings with, got on the road and met with stakeholders throughout the state, and made sure they attended national events when appropriate. A few weeks ago I looked at the IndyCar schedule and thought: this could be better, and I sat right down and redid the schedule.
Before I run through the schedule, I gave myself some rules/guidelines:
1) Cannot add any tracks (except for the one off of an international race if the final schedule allowed)
2) Cannot remove any tracks
3) Must build in the summer break, which currently is from July 29 - August 19, 2018
4) Free up the week after the Indianapolis 500
5) Maximize regionality to avoid having drivers and teams traversing the country over weeks
6) Watch track building on street courses and conflicts with holidays
7) Don’t forget weather and temperature
It should also be mentioned that I wrote this before Detroit and Texas got pissy with each other. Additionally I have the luxury of doing this without constraints of the contracts between IndyCar and the other tracks. Though, as a free legal tip from one lawyer, I would have negotiated all tracks so the all end at the same time and you don’t have different tracks contracts ending at different years. That just makes it extremely hard to readjust schedules. So here’s what I have:
A few discussion points.
I did build in two opportunities for additional non-US races including one at the beginning of March, which given the climate I would recommend it be somewhere warm like Mexico. The other international race I’ve slotted to start what I’ve named the “West Coast to East Coast Swing”. Bending the do not add another race rule, but if these races were left off the calendar it wouldn’t effect anything, and give the drivers a 3-week summer vacation.
I kept St. Petersburg as the starting race, it’s a warm location, it’s a fun location to kick things off, and us fans can make the excuse that’s it’s our “Adult Spring Break”.
I attempted to group races together by region. From March through April there’s a western part of the US grouping. Partially because through April places in the Midwest may still have snow and cold temperatures, actually May can still have chilly weather (as I know from personal experience of having to buy a sweatshirt for qualifications one year). I think having the teams on a Western swing leading up to the month of May can potentially help bring more interest into the sport from that side of the nation during the build up to the 500.
I built in a week off before May starts and after the Indianapolis 500. I know there’s the argument about capitalizing on momentum, but between teams and drivers and everyone involved, that weekend after the 500 needs to be freed up. It’s a weekend to breathe.
Following the 500 is a Midwestern swing. I actually believe Mid-Ohio is a good follow-up race to the 500. Again, this was decided prior to the Detroit/Texas fight, but I like that I had decided neither of them get that spot. We just had a spectacular oval race, and a strong road course that’s well attended and in a very picturesque setting makes for a good dichotomy of the different types of tracks IndyCar uses. Mid-Ohio is considered a fan favorite and since so many people attend and talk about it, there won’t be the post-500 fatigue I fear any race after the 500 suffers from. I also kept Road America as the race to follow up the Le Mans break. Similar reasoning for Mid-Ohio: it’s a fan favorite, well attended, and everyone talks about it. Toronto was chosen for the post-July 4th race because well they don’t celebrate the 4th of July (for obvious reasons) so they can set up during that time and not have people complain about loosing city streets for parades.
I finished up the schedule with a segment I labeled the “West Coast to East Coast” to have races in the West Coast, a Mid West race, and finish up on the East Coast. Pocono makes a good finale, though as we discussed on the latest episode [dropping Wednesday] Watkins Glen would be a perfect final race. However Pocono is a fun oval, it’s near Andretti family so there’s a lot of pride, and it’s an overall fun race.
Would I like to drop races from the schedule – yes. Would I like to add races to the schedule – yes. It just seemed to easy to drop and add at random. I’d love to add Kentucky as a race, and drop Detroit. However this is the real world where tracks have entered into multi-year contracts and you just don’t get to cancel a contract because you want to. I know this having taken contracts in law school and passing the Multi-State Bar Exam.
Just my thoughts, if you have an ideal schedule let me know below!