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IndyCar’s 2016 schedule officially confirmed, TV and start times released

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INDYCAR has formally confirmed the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule for 2016 on Tuesday morning, with no changes from what has been previously discussed or anticipated.

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

The formal details:

  • Hello, Phoenix, Road America and Boston, with the first two of those also in “welcome back” mode for the first time since 2005 and 2007, respectively
  • Goodbye, NOLA, Fontana and Milwaukee. NOLA is a one-and-done, while Fontana (1997-2002 CART, 2002-2005 IRL, 2012-2015 INDYCAR) and Milwaukee (last off schedule in 2010) now enter their next period of hiatus and the question gets asked whether they will come back once more.
  • ABC will carry seven total broadcasts – five races (St. Petersburg, Indianapolis GP, Indianapolis 500, Detroit doubleheader) and two qualifying shows (Indianapolis 500 qualifying Saturday and Sunday).
  • NBCSN will carry the balance of the schedule, with the remaining 11 races, and all races from Texas through to Sonoma – same as this year.
  • F1 and IndyCar will be on the same weekend 10 different times: April 2-3 (IndyCar Phoenix, F1 Bahrain), April 17 (F1 China, IndyCar Long Beach), May 14-15 (F1 Spain, IndyCar Indianapolis GP), May 29 (F1 Monaco, IndyCar Indianapolis 500), June 11-12 (F1 Canada, IndyCar Texas), July 9-10 (IndyCar Iowa, F1 Britain), July 31 (F1 Germany, IndyCar Mid-Ohio), Sept. 4 (F1 Italy, IndyCar Boston) and Sept. 18 (F1 Singapore, IndyCar Sonoma).
  • Hulman Motorsports CEO (de facto head of INDYCAR) Mark Miles and defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will be on a conference call later this morning to formally discuss the schedule.

The full calendar, with TV network and time:

  • March 13, St. Petersburg, ABC 12:30pm
  • April 2, Phoenix, NBCSN 8pm
  • April 17, Long Beach, NBCSN 4pm
  • April 24, Barber, NBCSN 3pm
  • May 14, Indianapolis GP, ABC 3:30pm
  • May 21-22, Indianapolis 500 qualifying, ABC
  • May 29, Indianapolis 500, ABC 11am
  • June 4-5, Detroit (2 races), ABC 3:30pm
  • June 11, Texas, NBCSN 8pm
  • June 26, Road America, NBCSN 12:30pm
  • July 10, Iowa, NBCSN 5pm
  • July 17, Toronto, CNBC 3pm
  • July 31, Mid-Ohio, CNBC 2pm
  • August 21, Pocono, NBCSN 3pm
  • Sept. 4, Boston, NBCSN 2pm
  • Sept. 18, Sonoma, NBCSN 7pm

“Overall, the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule is another key step forward in INDYCAR’s strategic vision,” said Miles upon the release of the schedule.

“We’re confident that the momentum that INDYCAR has experienced in fan engagement over the past two seasons will continue as a result of the tireless efforts of our event promoters and our improved scheduling on ABC and NBCSN.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).