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IndyCar sets start times for its 2016 races

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One of the things missing from the release of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule at first glance – and this was the key to note since the races were pretty much already known – was specific start times for races. Planned TV start times were listed.

As we click into the new year, INDYCAR has put out the start times for 2016. Many of them follow the trend of 2015: later afternoon or early evening start times.

In theory, it sounds stupid – hey, if you’re coming from out of town, and the race starts late, it means you’ll have to burn an extra day of vacation or you’ll get back super late Sunday night.

But witness the fact NBCSN’s ratings went up significantly this year, 34 percent from 2014 (from 378,000 in 12 races to 507,000 in 11 races), and you’ll see the strategy worked. It was the most watched IndyCar season on NBCSN since IndyCar rights were acquired in 2009, when the network was then known as VERSUS.

Was later start times the only reason? Of course not. Having NASCAR on the network drove additional viewership and worked in some cases as a perfect lead-in. Having all three major series – NASCAR, F1 and IndyCar – on NBC Sports Group properties allowed for a good level of cross promotion, as well.

Two other things to note below. One, the Toronto and Mid-Ohio races look set to air live on CNBC. NASCAR is yet to announce its full 2016 TV schedule but those dates, July 17 and July 31, see NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on Sundays at New Hampshire and Pocono, respectively. The NBC portion of NASCAR’s schedule will begin at Daytona in July.

Mid-Ohio aired live on CNBC last year and then was re-aired on NBCSN immediately following the conclusion of the Pocono Cup race; in theory, it could make sense to do that again, as the NBCSN rating for IndyCar at Mid-Ohio was north of 600,000 viewers.

The second thing to note is that only three races – St. Petersburg, the 100th Indianapolis 500 and the new race at Elkhart Lake – have start times prior to 2 p.m. ET. The Elkhart Lake start time of 1:08 p.m. ET is particularly important for those fans from Chicago, Indianapolis or wherever who’d be making the trip. Figure that’s 12:08 p.m. CT and local time and if the race ends, worse case at 2:30 p.m., you can easily be home not too late at night. This is a good thing.

Anyway, without further adieu, here’s your start times and networks for the 2016 season. All are subject to change but figure these will be the likely targets:

Date Race Network Start Time
March 13 St. Petersburg ABC 12:52 p.m. ET
April 2 Phoenix NBCSN 8:35 p.m. ET
April 17 Long Beach NBCSN 4:37 p.m. ET
April 24 Barber NBCSN 3:37 p.m. ET
May 14 Indy GP ABC 3:50 p.m. ET
May 29 Indy 500 ABC 12:00 p.m. ET
June 4 Detroit 1 ABC 3:50 p.m. ET
June 5 Detroit 2 ABC 3:50 p.m. ET
June 11 Texas NBCSN 8:50 p.m. ET
June 26 Road America NBCSN 1:08 p.m. ET
July 10 Iowa NBCSN 5:50 p.m. ET
July 17 Toronto CNBC 3:37 p.m. ET
July 31 Mid-Ohio CNBC 2:37 p.m. ET
Aug. 21 Pocono NBCSN 3:48 p.m. ET
Sept. 4 Boston NBCSN 2:37 p.m. ET
Sept. 18 Sonoma NBCSN 7:37 p.m. ET

Dakar Rally Stage 13: Carlos Sainz has second overall victory in sight

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Editor’s note: Check out expanded video highlights of Stage 13 Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Carlos Sainz is nearing his second Dakar Rally victory while Nasser Al-Attiyah strengthened his bid for second by winning Friday’s 13th stage of the endurance race.

Sainz finished sixth in his Team Peugeot ride and holds a lead of 46:18 over Al-Attiyah’s Toyota.

“I tried to play it safe, even if there were plenty of tricky parts,” said Sainz, who won the Dakar Rally in 2010 but had failed to finish the past five races because of mechanical problems. “Since the start, there has been a lot of drama in this race and it’s not over until we’ve crossed the finishing line. It’s not a crazy Dakar, but it’s very difficult. I hope everything will go OK (Saturday).”

Defending race winner Stephane Peterhansel is in fourth overall, trailing by 1:28:08 after crashing and finishing 20th in the penultimate stage. The Frenchman has a record 13 overall wins in the Dakar but is unlikely to earn another despite rebounding well from a crash in the seventh stage that had knocked him from the overall lead.

In other divisions, Eduard Nikolaev (trucks), Matthias Walkner (motorcycles), Ignacio Casale (Quads) and Reinaldo Varela (SxS UTV) are on the cusp of capturing overall wins entering the final stage.

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STAGE 13 RESULTS, CARS

  1. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, Toyota, 5:02:22
  2. Argentina’s Lucio ALvarez, Toyota, 5:13:38
  3. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers, Toyota: 5:15:28
  4. Poland’s Jakub Przygonski, X-Raid, 5:17:29
  5. Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen, X-Raid, 5:21:46

OVERALL 

  1. Spain’s Carlos Sainz
  2. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, 46:18 behind
  3. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers, 1:20:00 behind
  4. France’s Stephane Peterhansel, 1:28:08 behind
  5. Poland’s Jakub Przygonski, 2:46:32 behind

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TRUCKS

  1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev, Kamaz, 5:59:02
  2. Russia’s Airat Mardeev, 5:59:52
  3. Czech Republic’s Martin Kolomy, Tatra, 6:05:08
  4. Belarus’s Siarhei Vlazovich, 6:26:47
  5. Czech Republic’s Dmitry Sotnikov, 6:31:56

OVERALL 

  1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev
  2. Belarus’s Siarhei Vlazovich, 3:53:59 behind
  3. Russia’s Airat Mardeev, 5:21:05
  4. Czech Republic’s Martin Kolomy, 9:01:18
  5. Czech Republic’s Dmitry Sotnikov, 10:04:29

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MOTORCYCLES

  1. Australia’s Toby Price, KTM, 4:48:33
  2. Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, Honda, 4:50:36
  3. France’s Antoine Meo, KTM, 4:51:17
  4. Austria’s Matthias Walkner, KTM, 5:00:05
  5. Spain’s Juan Pedrero Garcia, 5:03:45

AMERICAN RIDERS

15th: Mark Samuels (Honda), 5:19:40

18th: Shane Esposito (KTM), 5:27:14

37th: Andrew Short (Husqvarna), 5:58:14

68th: Bill Conger (Husqvarna), 7:16:00

OVERALL 

  1. Austria’s Matthias Walkner
  2. Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, 22:31 behind
  3. Australia’s Toby Price, 27:45
  4. France’s Antoine Meo, 50:17
  5. Spain’s Gerard Farres, 1:01:19

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QUADS

  1. Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli, 5:55:16
  2. Paraguay’s Nelson Augusto Sanabria Galeano, 5:58:34
  3. Chile’s Ignacio Casale, 5:59:19
  4. Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, 6:02:22
  5. Brazil’s Marcelo Medeiros, 6:02:23

OVERALL

  1. Chile’s Ignacio Casale
  2. Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, 1:37:16 behind
  3. Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli, 2:05:12
  4. Brazil’s Marcelo Medeiros, 4:25:26
  5. Peru’s Alexis Hernandez, 4:34:37

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SxS UTV

  1. France’s Patricie Garrouste, Polaris, 6:29:40
  2. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela, Can-Am, 6:39:39
  3. France’s Claude Fournier, Polaris, 7:33:17
  4. Spain’s Jose Pena Campos, Polaris, 7:41:200

OVERALL 

  1. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela
  2. France’s Patricie Garroueste, 53:28 behind
  3. France’s Claude Fournier, 10:02:12
  4. Spain’s Jose Pena Campos, 10:06:01

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SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE

Champions in all five classes will be crowned Saturday after the 14th and final stage concludes in Cordoba, Argentina.

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