THIS IS A SHOCKER. Friends, After 14 years, I have resigned my leadership role at World Racing Group and the World of Outlaws and DIRTcar Racing.
The time has been very rewarding, especially working with the great employees at WRG, and all the courageous and passionate track operators, drivers and race team owners, media, industry peers and the best fans in sports.
I am proud of our accomplishments and growth the company has experienced. It is in a great position.
This move creates a new chapter and new opportunities. The rearview mirror is full of wonderful memories and accomplishments, and now the windshield is clear … I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Above all, your support and friendship is the most treasured.
Coming off of double-digit viewership increases in its first season as the exclusive home of INDYCAR, NBC Sports is set to provide more than 300 hours of INDYCAR action in 2020 across NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR Pass – highlighted by the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24, on NBC.
Highlights of NBC Sports’ 2020 INDYCAR schedule:
NBC Sports’ presentation of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24, on NBC, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app;
Eight total INDYCAR races on NBC, including the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Saturday, May 9; the Detroit Dual at Belle Isle on the weekend of May 30-31, and the final two races of the season in Portland, Ore., (Sunday, Sept. 6) and Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., (Sunday, Sept. 20);
Extensive coverage on NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR Pass – NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer live streaming INDYCAR 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 2020 INDYCAR campaign.
2020 INDYCAR SEASON ON NBC AND NBCSN
NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES begins on Sunday, March 15, on NBCSN with live coverage of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg from St. Petersburg, Fla., the first of 17 races to air on NBC and NBCSN during the season.
The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500, set for Sunday, May 24, 2020, will mark the second appearance ever on NBC. Last year, NBC Sports’ inaugural presentation of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on NBC, averaged a TAD of 5.475 million viewers, up 11% vs. the 2018 race (TV-only 4.913 million, ABC).
NBC Sports has expanded its Indy 500 qualifying coverage in 2020, adding a second day of broadcast coverage and two additional hours on NBC. Indy 500 qualifying on Saturday, May 16, will air from 2-5 p.m. ET on NBC, followed by qualifying coverage on Sunday, May 17, on NBC from 1-3 p.m. ET.
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 horse racing’s Triple Crown, 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 9. Following the Indy 500, NBC will present the Detroit Dual races from the Raceway at Belle Isle Park on the weekend of May 30-31, followed by races at Road America in Kohler, Wis., on Sunday, June 21, and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on Sunday, August 16. The season’s penultimate race in Portland, Ore., will be on NBC on Sunday, Sept. 6, followed by the INDYCAR championship and season finale at iconic Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 20.
NBCSN will televise the first four races of the 2020 INDYCAR SERIES season. Following the season opener at St. Pete, NBCSN will showcase the Grand Prix of Alabama from Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham on Sunday, April 5, followed by the iconic Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 19, and Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, April 26.
NBCSN will also present INDYCAR’s return to Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Va. on Saturday, June 27, in primetime, which will mark the first INDYCAR race at the oval track since 2009. Other primetime races on NBCSN include Texas Motor Speedway on June 6 and Gateway outside of St. Louis, Mo., on August 22. Additional INDYCAR schedule mainstays include the Streets of Toronto on July 12 and Iowa Speedway on July 18.
Current INDYCAR driver for Andretti Autosport and fan-favorite James Hinchcliffe has joined NBC Sports as a motorsports analyst for 2020. He will serve as a driver analyst for a majority of NBC Sports’ 2020 INDYCAR race coverage, providing reports from pit road and will make his debut at the season-opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., the weekend of March 13-15.
Hinchcliffe’s on-air schedule will include the Grand Prix of Long Beach on the streets of Long Beach, Calif.; his home race, the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto; and the season finale at Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. He will also be part of NBC Sports’ comprehensive coverage in the week prior to competing in the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on NBC.
In addition to his role on INDYCAR coverage, Hinchcliffe will provide analysis during NBC Sports’ NASCAR coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Fourth of July weekend. He will also serve as an analyst for select IMSA races, beginning with Sebring on March 20-21, and will contribute to Indy Lights coverage on NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR Pass throughout the year.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the NBC Sports team and covering so many awesome racing series in 2020,” said Hinchcliffe. “NBC Sports has covered INDYCAR for more than a decade and I’ve gotten to know Diff really well over that time. I used to bang wheels with PT and Townsend, so our relationships go way back and it will be great getting to work them, and all the behind the scenes staff at NBC Sports, throughout the season. I’ve always loved educating people on the finer points of INDYCAR racing and I’m excited to jump in and share my expertise and perspective as a current driver with all of the fans and viewers.”
“James Hinchcliffe is one of the most dynamic personalities in motorsports and we’re excited to bring The Mayor of Hinchtown to the NBC Sports team for 2020,” said Sam Flood, executive producer and president, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “James’ engaging personality, combined with his unique perspective of what these drivers are experiencing in real time, will be a great addition to our motorsports coverage.”
Last week, it was announced that Hinchcliffe would run three races for Andretti Autosport – the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the Indy 500, and the Genesys 600 – in the 2020 season. Hinchcliffe is a six-time INDYCAR race-winner and made his debut in 2011 when he was named the INDYCAR rookie of the year. He recorded eight top-10 finishes in 2019, including a third-place finish at Iowa Speedway where he won in 2018.
Hoosier will present the 2020 season opener at Williams Grove Speedway in just three weeks, slated for Sunday afternoon, March 15 at 2 pm, featuring the Lawrence Chevrolet 410 sprint cars in a $4,080 to win event.
The 410 sprints are the only division on the racing program with gates opening at noon followed by warm-ups at 1:30 pm.
Courtesy of Hoosier Tires, Hoosier giveaways are slated for the season lidlifter for both fans and racers alike.
Adult general admission for the season opener is set at $16 with youth ages 13 – 20 priced at $10. Kids ages 12 and under are always admitted for FREE at Williams Grove Speedway.
Throughout the upcoming season, as they have for many years, Fast Tees Screenprinting of Thompsontown will again be paying $300 to set fast time at all oval time trial events in honor of late speedway champion Jimmy Nace.
The total of Fast Tees Fast Time posted monies will again approach nearly $5,000 in 2020.
Eshenaur & Son fuels of Harrisburg returns to Williams Grove Speedway again in 2020 with the Eshenaur Fuels Last Lap Pass Awards for both regular and visiting open wheel divisions.
Eshenaur’s will again offer a $250 last lap pass award to any driver who makes a last lap pass for the win in the 410 sprint car division while a $100 bonus is posted for last lap pass winners in the 358 sprints.
Eshenaur’s will also offer $100 bonus last lap awards for all 305 sprint races during the season.
In addition, various product certificates will be awarded at numerous events during the season including vouchers for Hoosier Tires and Keizer Wheels.
Keep up to date on all the latest speedway news and information by visiting the oval’s official website located at www.williamsgrove.com or by following the track on Twitter and Facebook.
INDIANAPOLIS. A wide-ranging, multifaceted plan to boost and strengthen the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was unveiled today featuring significant improvements and financial investment that will resonate with fans from Central Indiana and throughout the globe.
The goal of the plan is to produce a legendary Month of May. Enhancements revealed exactly 100 days from the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24 include:
– The largest purse in Indianapolis 500 history
– Improvements to the Indianapolis 500 qualifying format and television schedule
– New sponsors investing long term in the “500,” IMS and NTT INDYCAR SERIES
– A multimillion-dollar investment in the fan experience at IMS
Since Jan. 6, following the change in ownership, the IMS team moved quickly to implement significant upgrades to the GMR Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and the Big Machine Vodka 400 during Fourth of July weekend.
“This is the Racing Capital of the World,” Roger Penske said. “It is on par with some of the most historic sporting institutions in this nation and across the globe, from Churchill Downs to Augusta National. Today, we’re announcing a meaningful investment in our fan experience that will produce rapid results. It’s part of a long-term plan to ensure the legendary status of the Speedway continues to grow and evolve for generations to come.
“I am very excited about the enhancements to qualifying weekend, the largest-ever ‘500’ purse, new sponsors and the significant investments we are making to the INDYCAR SERIES and to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
Indianapolis 500 Purse
The event purse for the 104th Indianapolis 500 will be the largest in the history of the event. The purse will grow by $2 million to more than $15 million, boosting the prize pool for NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams and drivers.
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying
Qualifying weekend for the 104th Indianapolis 500 – Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17 – will feature a variety of changes to its format and broadcast to create even more memories and drama.
Multiple attempts will return to the Last Row Shootout, expanding it to 75 minutes. Previous versions of the Shootout featured one attempt per car. While fans enjoyed that format, feedback indicated they wanted even more drama as drivers try to seize one of the three final spots in the field.
A boost in turbocharger level will see speeds climb this year during the Indy 500 qualifying sessions. Turbocharger boost will increase horsepower by 45 HP this year.
An expanded weekend TV schedule will ensure NBC televises coverage of qualifications on both Saturday and Sunday, with total network exposure increasing over 2019. Full weekend broadcast details will be released soon.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and IMS will add six new major sponsors in 2020. Pennzoil, Verizon, Snap-on Tools, DEX Imaging, Road & Track magazine and Global Medical Response will make significant investments in the racing series and Speedway.
Multimillion-Dollar Fan Experience Investment
The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016 saw large investments made to the Speedway. Beginning with this year’s GMR Grand Prix, fans will experience many new upgrades to IMS. These enhancements are all projects that will be finished before gates open, with several additional opportunities under consideration for future seasons.
Technology upgrades are a major component of this plan. More than 30 additional large-screen video boards will be added, including 24 along the Paddock seating. The Paddock screens will bring race action and vital information to an additional 25,000 fans. In addition, all seven large infield big-screen monitors will receive a running order addition.
Another exciting addition is the IMS Media Wall. This video board, measuring 100 feet wide by 20 feet tall, will be installed at the base of the Pagoda facing the Pagoda Plaza as a cornerstone of a plan to transform the popular gathering area for fans. It will also provide data-driven race insights to fans from NTT.
Verizon and their 5G Ultra Wideband network will transform the iconic Speedway into a first of its kind technology-led entertainment complex. IMS will be the first motorsports facility with commercial 5G service that will enhance both the consumer experience and track operations.
Infrastructure improvements will be noticeable inside and outside of the fabled, 110-year-old facility.
Pedestrian traffic on Georgetown Road will be widened by two lanes to make ingress and egress easier for more than half of the venue’s Race Day customers.
More than 125 restrooms are being renovated inside IMS. New pavement will be added to the Parcel B lot near the IMS Main Gate to improve the parking experience and create a cleaner look for the “front door” of the facility. Approximately 3 miles of fencing will be added to the entire grounds.
The winning driver and team of the Indianapolis 500, Grand Prix and Brickyard 400 will receive higher honors, as the winner’s car will be elevated to the same level as the Victory Podium after each race. This will give fans a better vantage point for pictures and social media sharing of the most prestigious Victory Lane in global motorsports.
The atmosphere of the massive facility also will be enhanced through detail-oriented improvements throughout IMS.
Night light signage will be installed over Gates 1 and 2, while IMS will assume responsibility for the beautification project along Crawfordsville Road. Fans will notice fresh paint and new signage on more than 50 concession stands inside IMS, picnic tables added throughout the grounds for more gathering space for families and friends, and the placement of more than 230 racing-themed flags around the facility and Crawfordsville Road.
All aspects of this fan experience investment plan are underway and will be completed before IMS gates open for the Month of May on Friday, May 8.
Tickets are on sale now at IMS.com and the IMS Ticket Office for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, GMR Grand Prix, Big Machine Vodka 400 and all other activities at IMS.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday for lovers. And the racing community – fans and racers – have a love affair with Port Royal Speedway.
So it’s only appropriate the race information for the third edition of the ‘Speed Showcase’ at the pristine fairgrounds facility be released on the 14th of February. Port Royal Speedway, known in the Central Pennsylvania racing community as the ‘Speed Palace’ will host the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco for the third consecutive season on Sunday, March 22.
In the two previous STSS Modified visits to Port Royal, fans have left the huge grandstands buzzing about what they had witnessed.
Last March, Middletown, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego emerged from a back-and-forth battle with Matt Sheppard through lapped traffic to pick up the victory. Sheppard finished second, followed by Mat Williamson (up from 19th), Danny Bouc and Brett Hearn.
The inaugural ‘Speed Showcase’ run in October 2018 saw Ryan Watt of Boyertown, Pa., fend off a rim-riding Brandon Grosso to put his name in the record books. David Van Horn, Duane Howard, Grosso and Craig Von Dohren filled out the front five.
This year’s edition again sees the STSS Modifieds run 40 laps for a purse structure totaling more than $25,000 plus contingency awards and bonuses: $5,000 minimum to win, $1,000 for 10th and $400 to take the green.
The event serves as Race No. 2 of the STSS Velocita-USA South Region presented by Design for Vision and Sunglass Central as the STSS Modifieds race toward a $10,000 championship for the eight-race schedule.
Joining the STSS Modifieds on the Port Royal Sunday soiree are the United Late Model Series (ULMS) Super Late Models in a $3,000-to-win South Region special.
Pit and grandstand gates will unlock at 11 a.m. on the 22nd. The drivers’ meeting is set for 12:45 p.m., with hot laps at 1:15 p.m. and racing at 2 p.m.
Adults pay $25 grandstand admission. Students pay $15 (ages 12-18). Children 11 and under are FREE. Pit admission is $35 with no license required.
Driving legends Janet Guthrie and Dale Earnhardt comprise the 2020 inductee class of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame. The two drivers – who pushed forward the envelope in motorsports in very contrasting ways – will be honored at the 2020 IMS Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers Dinner presented by Firestone on Thursday, May 21 in downtown Indianapolis.
The two were chosen from a ballot of 14 nominees by a distinguished panel of more than 140 auto racing journalists, participants and historians.
“Once again the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame voting panel has chosen two outstanding people who played direct roles in elevating the Speedway, both behind the scenes and in the public eye,” said Tony George, chairman of the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, which operates the IMS Museum. “Dale Earnhardt’s embrace of the Brickyard 400, especially in 1995 Victory Lane, further elevated the race as a premier NASCAR event, while Janet’s courage, professionalism and driving talent led the way for greater female participation in motorsport.”
Guthrie’s role as a motorsports pioneer cannot be understated. An accomplished road racer before coming to Indianapolis, her historic tenure at IMS began in 1976 when she became the first female assigned to a car on the entry list. She didn’t make a qualifying attempt but returned in 1977 and became the first female qualifier in race history. Guthrie finished ninth in 1978, the best finish by a female until Danica Patrick’s fourth-place result in 2005. Her result was even more remarkable given that Guthrie cracked her wrist several days before the race, secretly wore a cast and essentially drove an Indy car one-handed for 500 miles.
Guthrie is also the first female to drive in a NASCAR event on a superspeedway, competing in the grueling 1976 World 600 at Charlotte. The following February, just three months before her first Indianapolis 500 start, she was the first female ever to drive in the Daytona 500, finishing 12th. She had 10 finishes of 12th or higher in NASCAR in 1977, scoring a career-high of sixth at Bristol.
Guthrie earned her pilot’s license at age 17 and spent six years as a research-and-development engineer in the aircraft industry and was a candidate for the NASA space program until the agency made it mandatory for astronauts to possess a doctorate.
Earnhardt – one of the most successful and respected figures in motorsports history – amassed an impressive record at the Brickyard 400, earning five top-10 finishes in just seven starts, including an extremely popular win in 1995. His NASCAR career is well documented: seven NASCAR Cup Series championships, tying Richard Petty for the most in history (later equaled by Jimmie Johnson), plus 76 Cup series wins, including the 1998 Daytona 500.
Earnhardt made his Cup series debut at the 1975 World 600 but wasn’t full time until signing with Rod Osterlund Racing for the 1979 season. His rise to stardom was meteoric from there, winning 1979 Rookie of the Year honors and his first Cup championship in 1980.
Earnhardt suffered fatal injuries in a final-lap accident at the 2001 Daytona 500, yet his persona and legacy continue to shape the sport. He was part of the NASCAR Hall Fame’s inaugural class in 2010 and has been inducted into numerous motorsports Halls of Fame.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame honors and celebrates the contributions and achievements of an exclusive group of individuals at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, encompassing was founded in 1952 as the Auto Racing Hall of Fame under the auspices of the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association (AAA). The Hall of Fame was moved to the original Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum under the direction of then-Speedway president Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr. in 1962.
FOX Sports adds a 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and one of the sport’s most legendary brother pairs to its NASCAR XFINITY SERIES broadcast booth this season.
Three-time champion Tony Stewart, inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January, joins FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander and driver analyst Clint Bowyer to call the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 25, marking Stewart’s first race broadcast in the FOX Sports booth.
Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR CUP SERIES champion who made his FOX NASCAR analyst debut last season, pairs with younger brother and reigning champion, Kyle Busch, to call the April 4 action at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“The sibling rivalry between us has been genuine over the years,” Kurt Busch said. “It was very unique in the beginning with our racing, but as we both have mellowed a bit, we’ll have fun in the booth going back and forth … It’s our favorite track, a track that spoke to us early in our career, and that’s how this opportunity came together. It seemed organic from FOX. When you see guys on TV calling races or football games, the gang you see from the field to the booth, that’s where Kyle and I will be going back and forth. It will probably get lost in ‘Busch translation’ at some point on what we both think needs to happen, and that’s part of the fun of it all.”
To kick off the new NASCAR XFINITY SERIES season, 2012 Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski called the season opener with Alexander and Bowyer from Daytona International Speedway.
In all, FOX Sports features 15 NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers, former drivers or crew chiefs throughout the 2020 NXS season (including the “Drivers Only + Chad” broadcast), with Bowyer (nine NXS races), Ryan Blaney (two), Kyle Busch (one), Kurt Busch (three), Austin Dillon (one), Keselowski (three), Chad Knaus (three), Joey Logano (two), Jamie McMurray (one), Stewart (one) and Michael Waltrip (three).
“The XFINITY Series is a steppingstone of our sport,” Bowyer said. “We all used that steppingstone to get to this (driving) opportunity in Cup. To be able to go back and sell the story of the Xfinity Series — these new kids coming up through the ranks — is important.”
In addition, FOX Sports’ “Drivers Only + Chad” broadcast is back for the fourth consecutive year, with newcomer Daniel Suarez serving as a pit reporter in his FOX Sports debut. Charlotte Motor Speedway is the backdrop for the annual broadcast on Saturday, May 23 (1:00 PM ET on FS1). The original broadcast booth trio of Kevin Harvick, Bowyer and Logano has the call, while Blaney and Bubba Wallace Jr. again cover pit road, this year teaming with Suarez. Keselowski returns to host race coverage from FOX Sports’ virtual studio in Charlotte alongside analysts Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Knaus.
Furthermore, FOX Sports is adding several active NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers to its NASCAR GANDER RV & OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES broadcast booth this season, with the full lineup to be announced in the near future.