INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2001 - An adjustment to the event length at Pikes Peak International Raceway and confirmations of distances for two other events highlight the final 2002 Indy Racing Northern Light Series schedule released today by Indy Racing League officials.
"I am very pleased how the 2002 schedule came together," said Brian Barnhart, vice president of operations for the Indy Racing League. "The tentative schedule was released in June, and we've only made a few minor modifications. This stability really helps the teams and sponsors plan for the future, and it really allows the track operators to promote their events in a consistent fashion."
The most significant change to 2002 schedule is an adjustment to the race length of the Radisson 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Since the first race at PPIR in 1997, the race distance for the 1-mile oval has been 200 laps. The past three Radisson 200s have finished in less than 1 ½ hours, so PPIR and League officials have agreed to raise the distance to 225 miles.
"Though we have had great races at Pikes Peak, they're getting too short," Barnhart said. "Buddy (Lazier) won this year in one hour, 23 minutes. We want to increase the value for fans by increasing the race distance."
Barnhart also confirmed the race distance for the events at California Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. Both races will be 400-mile events on the similar 2-mile ovals.
"This 2002 schedule is a great schedule of 15 events packaged in a six-month period," said Barnhart. "2002 really excites me. With track sizes ranging from Richmond's ¾-mile to the 2 ½ miles at Indianapolis, we have ovals of all shapes and sizes. It's going to be exciting."
The final 2002 schedule: Date Track Network Time (Eastern) M.com Name March 2 Homestead-Miami Speedway ABC 1 p.m. Homestead-Miami March 17 Phoenix International Raceway ABC 4 p.m. Phoenix March 24 California Speedway ESPN 3:30 p.m. California April 21 Nazareth Speedway ABC 1 p.m. Nazareth May 26 Indianapolis Motor Speedway ABC 11 a.m. Indy 500 June 8 Texas Motor Speedway ESPN 8 p.m. Texas June 16 Pikes Peak International Raceway ABC 4 p.m. Pikes Peak June 29 Richmond International Raceway ESPN 7:30 p.m. Richmond July 7 Kansas Speedway ABC 1 p.m. Kansas July 20 Nashville Superspeedway ESPN 7:30 p.m. Nashville July 28 Michigan International Speedway ABC 2:30 p.m. Michigan Aug. 11 Kentucky Speedway ABC 1:30 p.m. Kentucky Aug. 25 Gateway International Raceway ESPN 3 p.m. Gateway Sept. 8 Chicagoland Speedway ABC 1 p.m. Chicagoland Sept. 15 Texas Motor Speedway ABC 3 p.m. Texas II