A week after Formula One coverage begins, NBC Sports Network will start the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series on Sunday, March 24 in St. Petersburg, Fla. This year, the network will air a record 13 races live, the most in the channel’s four-year history as the cable home of IndyCar (up from nine in 2012). The increase is largely due to the innovative addition of two doubleheaders — in Toronto and Houston — which provide two races over two days from one location.
COMMENTATORS: NBC Sports Network’s coverage will feature a new look this year. Lead race announcer Leigh Diffey, in his first year covering the IndyCar Series, will be joined by returning race analyst and former NASCAR driver Wally Dallenbach, Jr. (analyst), and newcomer to the booth, IndyCar driver Townsend Bell.
Jon Beekhuis, an analyst who has also served at the network since 2009, will now report from pit road. A former CART driver (1989-92) and 1988 Indy Lights Champion, Beekhuis will be inside the race action, reporting minute-to-minute on what happens on the track.
Veterans Marty Snider and Kevin Lee will return this season as pit reporters, and will be joined by Robin Miller, the network’s IndyCar reporter.
RACES: NBC Sports Network’s schedule includes 13 races in three different countries (U.S., Canada, and Brazil), the first and last races of the year, as well as the popular Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The season begins March 24 at Noon ET with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg from St. Petersburg, Fla. Other race locations include: Barber, Ala., Long Beach, Calif., Sao Paulo, Brazil, Milwaukee, Wis., Mid-Ohio, Ohio, Sonoma, Calif., and Baltimore, Md.
QUALIFYING: NBC Sports Network will air 12 hours of Indianapolis 500 qualifying coverage. Also, on May 24 at 11 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network will air five hours of live coverage of Carb Day, which includes the final practice for the Indy 500, the Indy Lights Freedom 100 and the Pit Stop Challenge.
The network will also air one-hour of qualifying coverage the day before each of its races. It will also replay race coverage the following day.
INDYCAR 36: NBC Sports Network will continue its all-access series IndyCar 36 in 2013. The first half-hour episode will feature Chip Ganassi driver Charlie Kimball on Saturday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m. ET. The original series is produced by IMS Productions and gives viewers an all-access pass into the life of a world-class driver in the middle of race season.
The cameras follow a driver for 36 hours during a race weekend providing a behind-the-scenes look at the on- and off-track activities of the stars of the IndyCar Series. The all-access 36 series includes NHL 36, Fight Night 36, F1 36, and MLS 36.
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS: NBC Sports Network will air 12 one-hour telecasts of Firestone Indy Lights beginning with the 1.8-mile street course St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 24 at 11 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Network. Additionally, there will be two new venues added to the series; the 2.5-milie Pocono Raceway oval, and the 1.7-mile, 10-turn temporary street course at Reliant Park in Houston. All Indy Lights races will be featured on event weekends to run in conjunction with and complement the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Firestone Indy Lights is the premier ladder series for drivers and teams striving to compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. Primarily run in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Firestone Indy Lights schedule features races on road courses/street circuits and ovals, including the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
NBC SPORTS NETWORK’S SEASON OPENER COVERAGE FROM ST. PETERSBURG (subject to change, times ET):
|Sat., March 23||IndyCar Qualifying||2:30 p.m.|
|Sun., March 24||Indy Lights||11 a.m.|
|Sun., March 24||Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg||Noon|
NBC SPORTS NETWORK’S 2013 IZOD INDYCAR SERIES SCHEDULE (subject to change, times ET):
|Sun., Mar. 24||Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg||St. Petersburg, Fla.||Noon|
|Sun., April 7||Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama||Birmingham, Ala.||3 p.m.|
|Sun., April 21||Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach||Long Beach, Ca.||4 p.m.|
|Sun., May 5||Sao Paulo Indy 300||Sao Paulo, Brazil||11 a.m.|
|Sat., June 15||Milwaukee IndyFest||West Allis, Wis.||4 p.m.|
|Sat., July 13||Honda Indy Toronto-Race 1||Toronto, Canada||3 p.m.|
|Sun., July 14||Honda Indy Toronto-Race 2||Toronto, Canada||3 p.m.|
|Sun., Aug. 4||Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio||Lexington, Ohio||3 p.m.|
|Sun., Aug. 25||GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma||Sonoma, Ca.||4 p.m.|
|Sun., Sept. 1||Grand Prix of Baltimore||Baltimore, Md.||2 p.m.|
|Sat., Oct. 5||Grand Prix of Houston-Race 1||Houston, Texas||3 p.m.|
|Sun., Oct. 6||Grand Prix of Houston-Race 2||Houston, Texas||1 p.m.|
|Sat., Oct. 19||MAVTV 500||Fontana, Ca.||8 p.m.|
NBC SPORTS NETWORK’S 2013 FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS SCHEDULE (subject to change, times ET):
|Sun., March 24||Streets St. Petersburg||St. Petersburg, Fla.||11 a.m.|
|Sun., April 7||Barber Motorsports Park||Birmingham, Ala.||2 p.m.|
|Sun., April 21||Streets of Long Beach||Long Beach, Ca.||3 p.m.|
|Fri., May 24||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||Indianapolis, Ind.||12 p.m.|
|Sat., June 15||The Milwaukee Mile||West Allis, Wis.||3 p.m.|
|Fri., June 28||Iowa Speedway||Newton, Iowa||11 p.m.|
|Fri., July 12||Pocono International Raceway||Long Pond, Pa.||7 p.m.|
|Sun., July 14||Streets of Toronto||Toronto, Ontario||11 p.m.|
|Sun., Aug. 4||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||Lexington, Ohio||2 p.m.|
|Sun., Sept. 1||Streets of Baltimore||Baltimore, Md.||1 p.m.|
|Sun., Oct. 6||Reliant Park||Houston, Texas||12 p.m.|
|Sat., Oct. 19||Auto Club Speedway||Fontana, Calif.||7 p.m.|