This is sure to capture the attention of IZOD IndyCar Series drivers: a $1 million bonus will be awarded to the competitor who wins the 2013 oval races at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway, the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway.
Failing to accomplish that feat, a driver who wins two of the three will receive a cool $250,000 bonus. Of course, winning the Indianapolis 500 alone is worth more than $2 million (plus the short- and long-term intangibles).
Click it: Complete 2013 schedule
The three-set race is a version of the Indy car Triple Crown. From 1971-80, it consisted of 500-mile races at Pocono Raceway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway. When Ontario closed in 1980, it was replaced by Michigan International Speedway and the Triple Crown lasted until 1989.
Al Unser is the only driver to have won all three races in the same calendar year (1978, driving the No. 2 First National City Travel Checks-sponsored car for team owner Jim Hall). Tom Sneva started from the pole at Indy and Ontario, while Danny Ongais was the pole sitter at Pocono.
Pocono Raceway, which last hosted an Indy car race in 1989, rejoins the schedule with a 400-mile race on July 7.
“Pocono is deep in open-wheel, oval racing tradition and has produced some of the most memorable races in Indy car history,” INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard said. “The addition of Pocono allows us to bring back a version of the Triple Crown, restoring a popular legacy of our sport to reward the champion of our three longest races of the season.”
The Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 26 and another 500-mile race will be held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Oct. 19. The IZOD IndyCar Series returned to the racetrack Sept. 15 after a six-year absence to host the series' championship-deciding race. Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport claimed the title by three points in a drama-filled race.