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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.”

Simon Pagenaud’s engineer relives 2019 Indy 500 victory on Twitter

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The Team Penske engineer for last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner is reliving Simon Pagenaud’s day by tweeting about what he was doing each moment a year later.

Starting with an observation that he awoke in his Indianapolis hotel room at 4:30 a.m., Ben Bretzman (@benbretzman) sent nearly two dozen tweets by 11 a.m. ET about how the morning before the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 unfolded.

Bretzman was through the infield tunnel and in Gasoline Alley by 6 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., he was wondering if his driver was awake yet, but he had heard for the first time from Pagenaud 45 minutes later.

‘BACK HOME AGAIN’Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NBC

FIERCE FRIENDSHIPPagenaud, Rossi recall epic battle of 2019 Indy 500

Among other highlights: The team’s last strategy meeting was at 8:30 a.m.; final check of the weather was at 9:30 a.m. and Bretzman gave the No. 22 Dallara-Chevrolet a once-over at 10:35 a.m. before it was pushed to the grid.

Follow @BenBretzman to watch the day unfold from the pit box and tune into “Back Home Again at 2 p.m. ET on NBC as Pageanud and Alexander Rossi, who are good friends off the track, recap their epic duel with host Mike Tirico.

Simon Pagenaud and engineer Ben Bretzman debrief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski).