Fans will get closer than ever to INDYCAR action with 2018 TV schedule in the US and the Global Markets.
INDYCAR and its broadcast partners announced the 2018 television schedule today featuring an expanded use of in-car cameras to bring fans the thrilling action of the Verizon IndyCar Series from a variety of new angles in the upcoming 17-race season.
ABC and NBCSN will utilize never-before-seen views of the intense racing that the Verizon IndyCar Series offers with cameras strategically placed on the universal bodywork kit that is new for all cars in 2018. In addition to the traditional in-car position above and behind the driver's head, cameras will be mounted to the nose, sidepod and rear attenuator. There also will be expanded use of the popular visor cam mounted on the driver's helmet and pioneered by INDYCAR.
"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 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season consists of 17 races in the United States and Canada. ABC will again air five races, beginning March 11 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (12:30 p.m. ET), which opens the season for the eighth consecutive year. The network rejoins the series on May 12 for the fifth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (3:30 p.m. ET).
ABC will celebrate its 54th year at the Indianapolis 500 with qualifying May 19-20 (4 p.m. ET) and the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 27 (11 a.m. ET).
"The Indianapolis 500 is one of the world's iconic sporting events and it's always an honor for ESPN and ABC to bring the pageantry and excitement to our viewers as we have for the past 53 years," said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling. "And with the other big events of the month of May at Indy as well as the season opener at St. Petersburg and the doubleheader in Detroit on our calendar, IndyCar Series fans will have the opportunity to enjoy a robust schedule of racing events from a diverse selection of venues."
The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, the only doubleheader weekend on the 2018 schedule, will conclude ABC's coverage for the season (June 2-3, each broadcast starting at 3:30 p.m. ET).
Twelve 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series races will be telecast by NBCSN, which in 2017 saw a 3 percent increase in viewership over the previous year. The network kicks off its season under the lights at ISM Raceway (formerly Phoenix Raceway) on April 7 (9 p.m. ET), followed by the historic Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 15, 4 p.m. ET) and Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (April 22, 3 p.m. ET).
Two NBCSN races will have earlier time slots than last year. The Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway on July 8 will air at 2 p.m. ET, while the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park will air at 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 25.
NBCSN will also air Miller Lite Carb Day activities on May 25 (11 a.m. ET), which includes final practice for the Indianapolis 500 and the marquee race of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires schedule, the Freedom 100. NBCSN will track the hunt for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship throughout its coverage of the final nine races of the season, including the previously announced new race at Portland International Raceway on Sept. 2 (2:30 p.m. ET) and culminating in the championship finale at Sonoma Raceway on Sept. 16 (6:30 p.m. ET).
"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."
For U.S. readers this is the broadcast breakdown of the 2018 Season
INDYCAR names Novak as Verizon IndyCar Series race director
INDYCAR has named veteran race official Kyle Novak as race director for the Verizon IndyCar Series. Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations, made the announcement today.
As race director, Novak will lead operations in Race Control at all Verizon IndyCar Series events. Race Control utilizes a variety of video, audio and data communications to oversee all aspects of competition and assure a safe, timely and competitive event. Novak will also work in conjunction with INDYCAR's race stewards to initiate reviews of on-track incidents, though it will remain with the panel of stewards to decide whether a penalty should be levied against a driver or team.
"Throughout our extensive search for a race director, one name was mentioned repeatedly - and that was Kyle Novak," Frye said. "We have been aware of Kyle's work for the past couple of years. He's clearly impressed those he's worked with and, after meeting with him, we knew he would be a great fit for our Race Control team. Kyle has a great future and we couldn't be more excited to have him as part of INDYCAR."
Novak has spent the past three years as a race director or steward for various sports car series sanctioned by IMSA, but the 36-year-old attorney by trade has a lengthy motorsports resume. It began in drag racing, where for years he has joined his father and brother in amateur bracket racing competition near their home in Dexter, Michigan, outside Ann Arbor. They own two cars.
"Always been a gearhead," Novak said. "Always working on cars; muscle cars, mostly. That's how I got my feet wet, and then one thing led to another. And here I am."
Novak's introduction to Indy car racing came as the operations manager and director of operations for the group promoting Champ Car races in Cleveland, Denver and Houston from 2004-08. His jobs in the years that followed were as a program manager for the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series with the Sports Car Club of America; a team manager for the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup Series now sanctioned by INDYCAR; and then IMSA, where he has been race director for the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, while also serving as a race steward for IMSA's top series, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Novak said the chance to work with Frye and other staff members he already knows simplified the decision to join INDYCAR.
"Jay and I hit it off immediately - it's the fresh outlook he brings that is a huge part of it (for me)," Novak said. "Ironically enough, three people who work in INDYCAR Race Control are some of the first people I met in the industry, and that goes all the way back to 2004. Those are among the key people I'll be working with on a day-to-day basis. There's a great deal of familiarity with them.
"Motorsports is such a small industry that many of the people who have helped me over the years have stayed with me as industry colleagues. But INDYCAR has always been at the forefront of professional motorsports in North America, and I had the opportunity on several occasions to witness that first hand, since many IMSA races are run in conjunction with INDYCAR events. I can't thank the people at IMSA enough for the opportunities I was given and for their assistance in making this a smooth transition to INDYCAR. "I can't wait to get started."
The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season consists of 17 races, beginning with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11, concluding with the Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 16 and anchored by the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 27. The season will feature the highly anticipated introduction of the sleek new universal aero kit on every competing car.
Only one week into the New year and lots of announcements already and plenty more to come as well in whats shaping up to be a massive 2018 racing season.
Photos and Media Quotes provided by IndyCar Media