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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.

Three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda dies at 70

AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File
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BERLIN (AP) Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, who won two of his titles after a horrific crash that left him with serious burns and went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry, has died. He was 70.

The Austria Press Agency reported that Lauda’s family said in a statement he “passed away peacefully” on Monday. Walter Klepetko, a doctor who performed a lung transplant on Lauda last year, said Tuesday: “Niki Lauda has died. I have to confirm that.”

Lauda won the F1 drivers’ championship in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari and again in 1984 with McLaren.

In 1976, he was badly burned when he crashed during the German Grand Prix but made an astonishingly fast return to racing just six weeks later.

Lauda remained closely involved with the Formula One circuit after retiring as a driver in 1985, and in recent years served as the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team.

Born on Feb. 22, 1949 into a wealthy Vienna industrial family, Nikolaus Andreas Lauda was expected to follow his father’s footsteps into the paper-manufacturing industry, but instead concentrated his business talents and determination on his dreams of becoming a racing driver.

Lauda financed his early career with the help of a string of loans, working his way through the ranks of Formula 3 and Formula 2. He made his Formula 1 debut for the March team at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix and picked up his first points in 1973 with a fifth-place finish for BRM in Belgium.

Lauda joined Ferrari in 1974, winning a Grand Prix for the first time that year in Spain and his first drivers’ title with five victories the following season.

Facing tough competition from McLaren’s James Hunt, he appeared on course to defend his title in 1976 when he crashed at the Nuerburgring during the German Grand Prix. Several drivers stopped to help pull him from the burning car, but the accident would scar him for life. The baseball cap Lauda almost always wore in public became a personal trademark.

“The main damage, I think to myself, was lung damage from inhaling all the flames and fumes while I was sitting in the car for about 50 seconds,” he recalled nearly a decade later. “It was something like 800 degrees.”

Lauda fell into a coma for a time. He said that “for three or four days it was touch and go.”

“Then my lungs recovered and I got my skin grafts done, then basically there was nothing left,” he added. “I was really lucky in a way that I didn’t do any (other) damage to myself. So the real question was then will I be able to drive again, because certainly it was not easy to come back after a race like that.”

Lauda made his comeback just six weeks after the crash, finishing fourth at Monza after overcoming his initial fears.

He recalled “shaking with fear” as he changed into second gear on the first day of practice and thinking, “I can’t drive.”

The next day, Lauda said he “started very slowly trying to get all the feelings back, especially the confidence that I’m capable of driving these cars again.” The result, he said, boosted his confidence and after four or five races “I had basically overcome the problem of having an accident and everything went back to normal.”

He won his second championship in 1977 before switching to Brabham and then retiring in 1979 to concentrate on setting up his airline, Lauda Air, declaring that he “didn’t want to drive around in circles anymore.”

Lauda came out of retirement in 1982 after a big-money offer from McLaren, reportedly about $3 million a year.

He finished fifth his first year back and 10th in 1983, but came back to win five races and edge out teammate Alain Prost for his third title in 1984. He retired for good the following year, saying he needed more time to devote to his airline business.

Initially a charter airline, Lauda Air expanded in the 1980s to offer flights to Asia and Australia. In May 1991, a Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashed in Thailand after one of its engine thrust reversers accidentally deployed during a climb, killing all 213 passengers and 10 crew.

Lauda occasionally took the controls of the airline’s jets himself over the years. In 1997, longtime rival Austrian Airlines took a minority stake and in 2000, with the company making losses, he resigned as board chairman after an external audit criticized a lack of internal financial control over business conducted in foreign currency. Austrian Airlines later took full control.

Lauda founded a new airline, Niki, in 2003. Germany’s Air Berlin took a minority stake and later full control of that airline, which Lauda bought back in early 2018 after it fell victim to its parent’s financial woes.

He partnered with budget carrier Ryanair on Niki’s successor, LaudaMotion.

On the Formula One circuit, Lauda later formed a close bond with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who joined the team in 2013. He often backed Hamilton in public and provided advice and counsel to the British driver.

Lauda also intervened as a Mercedes mediator when Hamilton and his former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg feuded, argued and traded barbs as they fought for the title between 2014-16

Lauda twice underwent kidney transplants, receiving an organ donated by his brother in 1997 and, when that stopped functioning well, a kidney donated by his girlfriend in 2005.

In August 2018, he underwent a lung transplant that the Vienna General Hospital said was made necessary by a “serious lung illness.” It didn’t give details.

Lauda is survived by his second wife, Birgit, and their twin children Max and Mia. He had two adult sons, Lukas and Mathias, from his first marriage.