Bravado to reign high in NTT INDYCAR SERIES


IndyCar 2021 schedule Image: IndyCar Series

A 17-race schedule was announced by INDYCAR officials recently for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES, including expanded network TV coverage, two thrilling high-speed races at Texas Motor Speedway (US) prior to the Indianapolis 500 and a return to its other pillar events.

The 2021 season will begin on March 7th, 2021, on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, marking the 10th consecutive year that St. Petersburg will host the launch of a new season. That event will be the first of nine races on NBC network television – a schedule that also includes the historic Grand Prix of Long Beach (California) in April.

INDYCAR, LLC, is an American-based auto racing sanctioning body for Indy car racing and other disciplines of open wheel car racing.

“We’re really pleased that the current plans provide for one additional race on cable channel NBC’s network than we had this year,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp.

“In particular, the season will start with NBC coverage of the St. Petersburg event, a spectacular start for those in attendance and for those watching from home,” Miles added.

“The INDYCAR and NBC Sports partnership continues to be mutually beneficial, growing in viewership and providing adrenaline-packed entertainment to a national sports audience,” remarked Michael Perman, Vice-President, Programing, NBC Sports.

“We’re looking forward to providing increased exposure to the series in 2021, including network coverage of the season opener in St. Petersburg and the finale in Laguna Seca (car racing track in California). Additionally, as a marquee event of our championship season, we’ll also provide wall-to-wall coverage of the Indy 500 on NBC, an international sporting spectacle filled with speed and exceptional drama,” Perman added.

The Indianapolis 500, also formally known as the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, or simply the Indy 500, is an annual automobile race held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, United States, an enclave suburb of Indianapolis.

Adrenaline-packed entertainment

For the first time, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will race at the Texas Motor Speedway in the month of May in 2021 during a doubleheader weekend on May 1st (Saturday) and May 2nd (Sunday). The move places a crucial oval on the schedule before the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, scheduled for May 30th (Sunday).

Noted Miles, “The changes in Texas are important and exciting. To have not just one oval race, but two, before racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May is strategically very important to the growth of the event, as well.”

The INDYCAR SERIES, currently known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES under sponsorship, is the premier level of open-wheel racing in North America.

The summer months kick off with the Detroit doubleheader moving to the second weekend in June, June 12th (Saturday) and June 13th (Sunday), while the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will host INDYCAR during the July 4th holiday weekend.

In August, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES enters an important stretch, with consecutive races on a street course, road course and an oval highlighting the audacious athleticism and bravado required to win a championship. That important run begins with INDYCAR’s debut on the on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, for the first Music City Grand Prix on August 8th. The three-day international festival of speed and sound will be staged on a temporary Grand Prix circuit in downtown Nashville and around the Nissan Stadium campus – home of the National Football League’s (NFL’s) Tennessee Titans.

Remarked Miles, “We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to race on the streets of Nashville, which we think will be a blockbuster event in its first year. It’ll help raise the bar – not just for great racing – but for a great festival around INDYCAR.”

Oval track racing is a form of closed-circuit motorsport that is contested on an oval-shaped race track. An oval track differs from a road course in that the layout resembles an oval with turns in only one direction, and the direction of traffic is almost universally counter-clockwise.

Just six days later, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES once again will join the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR’s) famous Brickyard weekend, returning to the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 14th.

Miles continued, “After the proof of concept this year, we look forward to having an INDYCAR Grand Prix during the Brickyard weekend – and inviting fans to be a part of it. We know the strong Midwest affinity for INDYCAR racing and the love for INDYCAR drivers will help that weekend reach new levels.”

The three-weekend stretch ends with a return to the oval at the World Wide Technology Raceway (Illinois, US) on August 21st.

Traditional races

Several traditional races will return in 2021. Over half of the events on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule have been on the calendar for 16 or more years, with Long Beach and Mid-Ohio (36 years) leading legendary visits to Detroit, Road America, Toronto and Portland International Raceway (Oregon, US).

The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season champion will be crowned on September 19th at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (car racing track in California), wrapping up the season on NBC.

The event start times for 2021 will be announced later.

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