I personally don't like the direction IndyCar has headed adding more and more road- and street-course events.
Eight races on the 2009 schedule will be of the twisty-course variety. That's three more than the series had in 2007. And there's a possibility a ninth road-course race is added (more on that a few graphs down).
Michigan (oval) got dropped before this season with Australia (road course) a very late addition. How late? Australia wasn't even confirmed as an event on this year's schedule until Wednesdays' announcement of the 2009 schedule. However, the race won't count toward the championship. So basically it's an exhibition, but anyhow, moving on ....
Then came the merger with Champ Car adding two more road courses -- Long Beach and Edmonton.
In 2009, yet another road course (Toronto) has been added while another oval (Nashville) has been dropped.
And from the sounds of things they'd like to add more road/street courses as Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL's commercial division, said the series was interested in expanding into Cleveland and Houston, which most certainly would be street races.
Also, Australia isn't currently on the 2009 tentative schedule. However, the series and organizers are still in negotiations. So there very well could be a ninth road course in 2009. And maybe next year the event would actually count in the standings.
Speedway Motorsports seemed somewhat stunned to see a couple of its tracks -- Las Vegas and New Hampshire -- excluded from the schedule. In particular, Las Vegas was looking to host the season finale. But apparently negotiations fell through because the series wished to run on the Vegas road course rather than utilize the oval, which is what SMI wanted to showcase.
I prefer the IRL in its original incarnation, when it featured only ovals. I didn't pay much attention to CART aside from the Indy 500 back in the day.
Over the past 10 or so years, with its oval-dominated schedule, IndyCar had managed to pull some of my attention away from NASCAR, but if it's going to trend back toward road courses now that it has finally gobbled up Champ Car, I can't say it's going to hold my interest as much.