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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.”

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.

NBCSN

“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).