Viso, Saavedra look to make most of new opportunities

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E.J. Viso (right) is heading for his biggest chance to date in the IZOD IndyCar Series – even if that means being a bit overshadowed to start.

Viso, entering his sixth year in IndyCar, will be running this season with Andretti Autosport, which boasts a driving stable that features the reigning series champion (Ryan Hunter-Reay), the series’ most popular driver (James Hinchcliffe), and a third generation of racing royalty (Marco Andretti).

But the Venezuelan is confident that, along with earning better results on the track, he can be a valuable teammate. The foursome tested last week at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.

“I believe I’m just going to add a lot of things into that synergy that was already created in the last year,” Viso said earlier this month in an INDYCAR teleconference.

“I like the three drivers and I think each one of them have their own forte, and obviously, [with] Ryan winning the championship, that’s a great momentum that the team has, that hopefully we can continue.”

Another driver in new surroundings, Sebastian Saavedra, also hopes to do well in 2013. He is stepping back up to full-time IndyCar competition with Dragon Racing, teaming up with four-time Champ Car World Series champion and ex-Formula 1 racer Sebastien Bourdais.

Saavedra, who ran with Conquest Racing in 2011 and focused mostly on the developmental Firestone Indy Lights series last season, comes to Dragon in the midst of controversy after taking over the team’s second ride that used to belong to Katherine Legge – who has promised legal action over the matter.

As far as on-track matters go, however, Saavedra is focused on helping Dragon move up the grid.

“The team is so positive about how they were able to build up last season, so we come with so much energy coming into the first race of the season at St. Petersburg,” Saavedra said to “We’re looking very good and looking to make things happen with [Bourdais], and I believe we’re a good combination to push each other.”

Will Viso and Saavedra’s fresh starts translate to success? With less than a month before the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Mar. 24, Noon ET on NBC Sports Network), we’ll know the answer soon enough.

Get your motor running: American Flat Track’s new season premieres Sunday on NBCSN

Photos courtesy American Flat Track
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If you like racing two-wheel style, make sure you catch the debut of a new multi-year TV broadcast deal featuring the American Flat Track motorcycle racing series on NBCSN.

The 18-round series debuts this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the season-opening race that was held at Daytona International Speedway on March 15.

Going forward, all 18 rounds of the series will be televised on NBCSN in highly-coveted weekend afternoon programming slots without two weeks of each event.

Last season, AFT drew nearly two million viewers on NBCSN with regular primetime coverage on Thursday nights.

This season, the one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts will be part of NBCSN’s regular weekend programing, following or preceding coverage of NASCAR, INDYCAR and Pro Motocross.

AFT is now in its 65th season, with two distinct classes: powerful, twin-cylinder rides in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines division, and the competition in the 450cc AFT Singles division.

“We are very excited to kick-off our second season of AFT on NBCSN,” NBC Sports Group Senior Director of Programming Jeff Macaluso. “The 2017 season provided us with some incredible racing and showed us how passionate the riders and fans are of this historic sport.

“The move to weekends this year, around other marquis motorsports properties, is sure to raise the level even higher.”

Here’s the 2018 AFT schedule on NBCSN:

Round Track, Location Track Type Premiere Time (ET) Time (PT)
1 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL TT Sun, 3/25 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
2 Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA Short Track Sat, 4/14 5:30 PM 2:30 PM
3 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX Half-Mile Sun, 5/06 4:00 PM 1:00 PM
4 Calistoga Speedway, Calistoga, CA Half-Mile Sun, 5/20 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
5 Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ Mile Sat, 5/26 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
6 Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA Mile Sun, 6/03 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
7 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 6/09 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
8 Red Mile, Lexington, KY Mile Sat, 6/16 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
9 Remington Park, Oklahoma City, OK Mile Sat, 6/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
10 Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH Half-Mile Sat, 7/07 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
11 Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY Short Track Sun, 7/15 6:00 PM 3:00 PM
12 Buffalo Chip Campgrounds, Sturgis, SD TT Sat, 8/11 12:30 PM 9:30 AM
13 Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD Half-Mile Sat, 8/18 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
14 Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL TT Sat, 9/01 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
15 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 9/22 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
16 Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA Half-Mile Sun, 9/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
17 Canterbury Park, Shakopee, MN Mile Sun, 10/14 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
18 Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ Mile Sun, 10/21 2:00 PM 11:00 AM


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