INDYCAR unveils 2018 TV schedule, times, new in-car camera angles

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INDYCAR announced its 2018 TV schedule on Wednesday, a campaign that promises to bring fans closer than ever to the action with expanded use of in-car cameras.

With the introduction of the new universal bodywork kit for all cars in 2018, in-car cameras will be able to be strategically placed to give fans never-before-seen views from both around the car and inside the cockpit.

According to an INDYCAR media release, cameras will be mounted in the traditional above and behind the driver’s head positions, along with on the car’s nose, sidepod and rear attenuator.

There will also be expanded use of the popular visor cam on several drivers’ helmets.

“This is a unique opportunity to bring the sport even closer to the television audience,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “INDYCAR has experienced 38 percent growth in audience over the past four years and providing a firsthand look at the exhilarating action is a way to win over even more fans.”

The 17-race 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, which begins on March 11 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, will once again be split between NBCSN (will air 12 of the season’s 17 races) and ABC (5 races).

“As the cable home of the Verizon IndyCar Series, NBCSN is proud to once again showcase the exciting racing that INDYCAR delivers at each event,” said Jon Miller, president, programming, NBC Sports Group. “Our schedule features iconic circuits like Long Beach and Road America and the final nine races of the season, including INDYCAR’s return to Portland, as we crown another INDYCAR champion on NBCSN in 2018.”

 

 

Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide

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Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.