IRL: 2001 series schedule set at 13 races

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2000 - After releasing a preliminary schedule in June, officials of the Indy Racing League released today the official 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series schedule. "We're pleased to announce our final...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2000 - After releasing a preliminary schedule in June, officials of the Indy Racing League released today the official 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series schedule.

"We're pleased to announce our final 2001 schedule," said Tony George, Indy Racing League president and chief executive officer. "This will give our teams and their sponsors plenty of time to plan for next year, and the date changes enhance the growth of our series. There are fewer long gaps in the schedule, keeping the exciting competition of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series in the spotlight more often."

The 13-race schedule begins March 18 at Phoenix International Raceway and ends Sept. 16 at Texas Motor Speedway. Every race will be broadcast live on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, with the season champion earning the Northern Light Cup and a $1 million bonus.

Three changes were made to the schedule since it was first released in June. A Saturday night race on April 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway was added after a successful event there this year in July. There also were two date changes.

The Kentucky Speedway event now is set for Sunday, Aug. 12 and will be broadcast live on ABC. In addition, the season finale at Texas Motor Speedway will move up two weeks to Sept. 16. That race will also be on ABC. "The Indy Racing League would like to thank the race organizers who have all worked hard with us in producing this 2001 Northern Light Series schedule," said Bob Reif, senior vice president, sales & marketing & chief marketing officer for the league. "We are very proud of this schedule, and we have already begun working on the 2002 schedule." In July, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced a return to a three-week format for practice and qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. Opening Day for the 85th Indianapolis 500 is Sunday, May 6, with Pole Day on Saturday, May 12. The final day of qualifying - Bump Day - has been changed, though. The final day of qualifications will be moved back one day to Sunday, May 20. Saturday, May 19 will become an additional day of practice.

<pre> 2001 INDY RACING NORTHERN LIGHT SERIES SCHEDULE: Date Location (Track size) TV (Times Eastern) Sunday, March 18 Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix (1 mile) ABC, 4 p.m. Sunday, April 8 Homestead-Miami Speedway, Miami (1.5 miles) ESPN, 1 p.m. Saturday, April 28* Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.5 miles) ESPN2, TBA Sunday, May 27 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis (2.5 miles) ABC, Noon Saturday, June 9* Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas (1.5 miles) ESPN, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, June 17 Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway, Colorado Springs, Colo. (1 mile) ABC, 2 p.m. Saturday, June 30* Richmond Int'l Raceway, Richmond, Va. (.75-mile) ESPN, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 8 Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kan. (1.5 miles) ESPN, 2 p.m. Saturday, July 21* Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, Tenn. (1.33 miles) ESPN, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky. (1.5 miles) ABC, 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26 Gateway International Raceway, St. Louis (1.25 miles) ESPN, 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2 Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Ill. (1.5 miles) ABC, 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas (1.5 miles) ABC, TBA * -- Night race

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony George