IndyCar’s schedule is coming out Tuesday, most likely, with few surprises

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With most if not all of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule known anyway via either track release dates, some series release dates (i.e. Road America’s return) and various media reports (USA Today, Indianapolis Star and FOXSports.com among others have come out just in the last few days), tomorrow’s projected full series schedule release promises to offer little more to add to what we already know.

What will be important to watch? Two things, if they’re revealed (and they’re expected to be): start times, and TV outlets.

This year, ABC had the usual month of May with all of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Indianapolis 500 qualifying (two days, two shows), the 99th Indianapolis 500 race and then straight into the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans doubleheader the following weekend. It also had the season-opening round in St. Petersburg.

NBCSN (or CNBC) had the remaining races, and the balance of the schedule from Texas Motor Speedway through to the season finale at Sonoma.

Some series insiders have suggested the NBCSN ratings bump this year was due in part to later start times – from Auto Club Speedway in June onwards, races topped 500,000 viewers and the Mid-Ohio CNBC race, later replayed on NBCSN with a NASCAR lead-in, brought that race’s combined total north of 600,000.

The NASCAR effect has obviously helped, too, with vigorous cross promotion of IndyCar content during NASCAR races, and vice versa.

With the Summer Olympics in Rio next August, it creates something of a headache for non-Olympics properties airing across the NBC networks. F1’s on its summer break for most of the month and so too will IndyCar; NASCAR, meanwhile will work around the conflicts when its schedule is released.

So here’s the expected dates for 2016, gathered from previous announced dates and other media reports.

The key for IndyCar’s actual release is TV and the times you’ll be seeing these races, rather than any drama about where they’ll be racing:

  • March 13, St. Petersburg
  • April 2, Phoenix
  • April 17, Long Beach
  • April 24, Barber
  • May 14, Indianapolis GP
  • May 21-22, Indianapolis 500 qualifying
  • May 29, Indianapolis 500
  • June 4-5, Detroit (2 races)
  • June 11, Texas
  • June 26, Road America
  • July 9, Iowa
  • July 17, Toronto
  • July 31, Mid-Ohio
  • August 21, Pocono
  • Sept. 4, Boston
  • Sept. 18, Sonoma

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.


“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

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“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).