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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.”

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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