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Get ready for even more IndyCar coverage from NBC Sports

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The indyCar season doesn’t kick off for another two months (OK, we didn’t include the COTA testing next month), but NBC Sports Group wants you to know that we’re ready. A full season of IndyCar on the NBC networks means good things for IndyCar fans and fans of racing.

So read on for what’s in store. And enjoy.

The full press release is below:

STAMFORD, Conn. – Jan. 9, 2019 – NBC Sports will provide unprecedented coverage of the 2019 IndyCar Series during its first season as the exclusive television and streaming home of INDYCAR – totaling nearly 350 hours of coverage across NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and NBC Sports Gold – highlighted by the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26, on NBC.

Highlights of NBC Sports’ 2019 INDYCAR schedule:

  •  NBC Sports’ inaugural presentation of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26, on NBC, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app;
  •  Eight total INDYCAR races on NBC, including the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Saturday, May 11, the Detroit Dual races on the weekend of June 1-2, and the final two races of the season in Portland (Sunday, Sept. 1) and Laguna Seca (Sunday, Sept. 22).
  •  Extensive coverage on NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer live streaming product – including live coverage of all practices and qualifying, all Indy Lights races, and on-demand replays;

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets and connected TVs – will stream all races during the 2019 IndyCar Series.

“As the exclusive home of INDYCAR in 2019, NBC Sports will provide fans with more on-track coverage than ever before,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “From centralized, seamless coverage on NBC and NBCSN to unparalleled support surrounding the 103rd Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, NBC Sports will super-serve INDYCAR Nation through its best-in-class television, digital, production and marketing assets.”

“This will be the most complete and robust season of INDYCAR viewing for our fans,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Fans can not only see everything that happens on the track, they can see races at their convenience on the same day, which until now had not been available.”

2019 INDYCAR SEASON ON NBC AND NBCSN

NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 IndyCar Series begins on Sunday, March 10, on NBCSN with live coverage of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of 17 races to air on NBC and NBCSN during the season.

The 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500, set for Sunday, May 26, 2019, will be the first ever on NBC. The Indy 500 will also be included in NBC Sports’ Championship Season marketing campaign, which touts numerous high-profile championship events that are presented across NBC Sports platforms from May to July, including the Triple Crown, The PLAYERS, Premier League Championship Sunday, French Open, Stanley Cup Final, Tour de France, and The Open Championship.

INDYCAR coverage on NBC will begin with the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Saturday, May 11. Following the Indy 500, NBC will present the Detroit Dual on the weekend of June 1-2, followed by races at Road America on Sunday, June 23 and Mid-Ohio on Sunday, July 28. For the first time, the INDYCAR championship will be decided on NBC, with the season’s penultimate race in Portland on Sunday, Sept. 1, followed by season finale at Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 22.

NBCSN will televise the first four races of the 2019 IndyCar Series. Following the season opener at St. Pete, NBCSN will showcase INDYCAR’s inaugural race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on Sunday, March 24, followed by the Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday, April 7, and the iconic Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 14.

NBCSN will also present a trio of primetime races (Texas, June 8; Iowa, July 20; Gateway, August 24), as well as schedule mainstays at Toronto on July 14 and Pocono on August 18.

Following is the NBC Sports’ 2019 IndyCar television schedule on NBC and NBCSN:

Date Race/Track Network Time (ET)
Sun, March 10 Streets of St. Petersburg NBCSN 1 p.m.
Sun., March 24 Circuit of the Americas NBCSN 1 p.m.
Sun., April 7 Barber Motorsports Park NBCSN 4 p.m.
Sun., April 14 Streets of Long Beach NBCSN 4 p.m.
Sat., May 11 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course NBC 3 p.m.
Sun., May 26 The 103rd Indianapolis 500 NBC 11 a.m.
Sat., June 1 Raceway at Belle Isle/Detroit – Race 1 NBC 3 p.m.
Sun., June 2 Raceway at Belle Isle/Detroit – Race 2 NBC 3 p.m.
Sat., June 8 Texas Motor Speedway NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sun., June 23 Road America NBC 12 p.m.
Sun., July 14 Streets of Toronto NBCSN 3 p.m.
Sat., July 20 Iowa Speedway NBCSN 7 p.m.
Sun., July 28 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course NBC 3 p.m.
Sun., August 18 Pocono Raceway NBCSN 2 p.m.
Sat., August 24 Gateway Motorsports Park NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sun., September 1 Portland International Raceway NBC 3 p.m.
Sun, September 22 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC 2:30 p.m.

*details for qualifying and practice telecasts will be released at a later date

2019 INDYCAR SEASON ON NBC SPORTS GOLD

NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product – will offer a package to INDYCAR fans that features live coverage of all practices and qualifying, all Indy Lights races, and full-event replays. Additional details, including the cost of the NBC Sports Gold offering, will be announced at a later date.

Mario Andretti says Colton Herta could be next American star in F1

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Mario Andretti’s last Formula One victory is also the last by an American driver in more than 42 years on the international open-wheel road racing series.

If you had told Andretti that while he was celebrating on the Grand Prix of the Netherlands podium on Aug. 27, 1978 at the Vandzoort circuit, he wouldn’t have believed it.

“Absolutely not,” Andretti told Kyle Petty during the most recent “Coffee With Kyle” episode (video above). “It’s a shame. Somehow we have so much talent here, and either there’s no invitation or something there. But I think it’s time to give some of this young talent that, in my opinion, is absolutely capable.”

The Dutch GP was the last of Andretti’s 12 victories in F1 and came during his championship season. No one since has come close to matching his success in F1.

Mario Andretti drives his Lotus-Ford to victory in the 1978 Grand Prix of the Netherlands (Bernard Cahier/Getty Images).

Andretti’s son, Michael, took a full-time ride with McLaren in 1993 but left with three races remaining in a season marred by crashes and mechanical problems.

Scott Speed was the last American to run a full F1 season in 2006, and Alexander Rossi made the most recent F1 start by a U.S. driver in 2015. Rossi has said he has no desire to return to racing in Europe after winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500 and becoming an IndyCar championship contender.

But Mario Andretti believes Andretti Autosport has another rising star with F1-caliber ability.

“Colton Herta is one that comes to mind,” Mario Andretti said. “As a young lad, his dad sent him to Europe, he was doing Formula 3, and he knows most of the circuits there. He’s trained. He’s showed in his rookie season and won some premium races at COTA (and Laguna Seca), beat two of the very best Indy has to offer (in) Will Power and Scott Dixon.

“This is one kid I’d love to see him get a break over there to fly the U.S. colors again.”

Herta, 20, seems interested in exploring an F1 leap over the next few years. After winning Sept. 13 at Mid-Ohio from the pole position (his third career victory in the NTT IndyCar Series), the No. 88 Dallara-Honda driver is ranked fourth in the standings in his sophomore year and regarded as one of the series’ top prospects.

Herta recently told RACER.com “I’d love to give Formula 1 a crack” but said he also would be happy driving in IndyCar and IMSA.

A naturalized U.S. citizen who told Petty about spending several years with his family in an Italian refugee camp before coming to America, Mario Andretti said F1 brought an enormous sense of patriotic pride.

“Formula One is like the Olympics in a sense,” he said. “You’re in a different country, a different continent. When you earn that highest step of the podium, they play your national anthem. That’s when you take nothing for granted. You feel like I’m representing my country, and the proudest moments are those.

“I’d just like to see some other American drivers experience that. It’s time.”

Mario Andretti with four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton before the Nov. 22, 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).

During the “Coffee With Kyle” conversation, Andretti also discussed:

–His versatility as a winner in IndyCar, sports cars, NASCAR and Formula One;

–His 1967 Daytona 500 victory and how he enjoyed racing with crew chief Jake Elder at the famed Holman-Moody team;

Mario Andretti Colton Herta
Mario Andretti and Kyle Petty saluted “The King” by wearing their Richard Petty-style hats during the latest “Coffee With Kyle” (NBCSN).

–Why he delayed his entry to F1 for a few years because of his earnings power in IndyCar. “I always say I’d race for free, but at the same time, you’re thinking of family and the future,” he said. “It was in the back of your mind that you can’t give up the earning power of IndyCar. That kept me from going full time in Formula One, but I always said that sometime in my career, I’d have to devote a period to Formula One.”

–On what it was like racing in an era when driver deaths were more prevalent. “If you’re going to do this, you’re not going to dwell on those negatives,” Andretti said. “There’s no way. You knew it was present. Especially in the ‘60s at the beginning of the season at the drivers meetings, you couldn’t help but look around and say, ‘I wonder who is not going to be here at the end of the season.’ We’d lose four to five guys. In ’64, we lost six guys.

“It’s something if you dwell on that, you’re going to take on a different profession. It’s a desire and love to want to drive that overcame all that and then the confidence it’s not going to happen to me. And then you pray.”

Watch the full “Coffee With Kyle” episode in the video above or by clicking here.

Mario Andretti looks on before the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019 (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).