IRL: 2008 schedule announced

IndyCar Series drivers will again face one of the most diverse schedules in all of motorsports as Indy Racing League officials have completed a 16-race slate for the 2008 IndyCar Series season. The schedule, which will have races on 11 ovals, ...

IndyCar Series drivers will again face one of the most diverse schedules in all of motorsports as Indy Racing League officials have completed a 16-race slate for the 2008 IndyCar Series season.

The schedule, which will have races on 11 ovals, three permanent road courses and two temporary street circuits, includes all but one venue which hosted the IndyCar Series in 2007.

"We look ahead to the 2008 season knowing that the IndyCar Series offers the most diverse schedule in all of motorsports," said Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations division for the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. "Our schedule demands the ability of both drivers and teams to master a variety of venues and the challenges each one brings with the end result being a true champion."

For the seventh consecutive season, Homestead-Miami Speedway will serve as host for the season opener. For the second year in a row, IndyCar Series teams will begin the season under the lights with a prime-time race scheduled for Saturday, March 29.

The season-opening race is one of five prime-time races on the schedule joining races at Texas Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Nashville Superspeedway and Kentucky Speedway as events held under the lights.

Chicagoland Speedway again will host the season finale on Sunday, Sept. 7. It will mark the third consecutive season that 1.5-mile oval will host the season finale. The 92nd Indianapolis 500 is slated for May 25.

"We continue to work with others to deliver world class motor sport entertainment and grow the series' constituencies and foster an atmosphere of working for the good of all involved," said Terry Angstadt, president of the sanctioning body's commercial division. "As we look beyond 2008 we will develop new races as opportunities permit and we will keep a healthy balance of oval, road and street circuits as part of our schedule."

Each IndyCar Series event will be televised nationally by ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC.

The ESPN alliance dates back to the league's inaugural 1996 event with ABC's' first broadcast of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race in 1965, a relationship that is the second-longest in sports between a network and sports property.

As the IndyCar Series prepares for 2008, league officials are already working on new safety and technology opportunities including the introduction of a paddle shift system on IndyCar Series cars, improved Side Impact Protection, the application of a new steering technology to enhance the steering effort on road courses and the ongoing research and development to identify the most effective seat design, structure and seatbelt configuration to provide the drivers with the highest levels of protection.

-credit: irl

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Brian Barnhart