IRL: Twelve races announced for 2001

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Sunday, June 18, 2000 -- Providing stability and growth for its fans, competitors and sponsors, the Indy Racing Northern Light Series today announced 12 multiyear agreements with 11 motorsports facilities which will result...

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Sunday, June 18, 2000 -- Providing stability and growth for its fans, competitors and sponsors, the Indy Racing Northern Light Series today announced 12 multiyear agreements with 11 motorsports facilities which will result in a minimum of 12 races in 2001. That represents a 33-percent increase in events over the 2000 season, which has nine events. "We are taking this step of announcing our 2001 races this early because we want to give everyone notice that the Indy Racing Northern Light Series is strengthening its commitment to leadership in providing fans nationwide the best in open-wheel, oval-track racing," said Tony George, Indy Racing founder. "This schedule will give our teams, our promoters and our sponsors the time and the information they need to prepare for the 2001 season." George noted several important points about the 2001 schedule: *All races will be televised live by either ABC or ESPN, part of a five-year agreement between Indy Racing and the networks. *The length of the season has been shortened from 10 months to seven months, providing for a consistent and competitive presence in the marketplace. *Three Saturday night races, all live on ESPN. *Six new markets in 2001, including Miami; Richmond, Va.; Nashville, Tenn.; and St. Louis, joining dates already announced in Chicago and Kansas City, Kan. The Richmond date - the first in series history on a track shorter than 1 mile -- is subject to mutually satisfactory testing, scheduled for June 27, 2000. *Returning dates in Phoenix, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Kentucky, as well as two dates at Fort Worth, Texas, announced as a five-year agreement a week ago, and Indianapolis. "To succeed at the level we want, we must have stability in our schedule, and today's announcement that we have multiyear agreements at all of these great tracks is a major step forward," George said. As part of the plan for a more compact season, the 2001 Indy Racing schedule will open March 18 at Phoenix International Raceway instead of the traditional January opener at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla. The Northern Light Cup will be awarded at the season-ending race Sept. 30 at Texas Motor Speedway instead of the traditional October closing date. George noted his pleasure with the expanded relationship with International Speedway Corporation. The series will compete at five facilities - Phoenix International Raceway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Kansas Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway -- with ISC ties. "Both ISC and the Indy Racing League see the many positives in working closely together to ensure that there is a viable open-wheel, oval-track series in the United States," George said. "As a track owner, I know that it is important to have a variety of types of racing available to meet the public's demand, and I am pleased that we will be racing on five tracks that ISC either owns or has a major interest in." Bob Reif, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, praised the new schedule. "It sets us up for success with the Indy Racing League," Reif said. "The ability to have an expanded schedule all with live ABC/ESPN broadcasts and to have it set by mid-June is a major benefit for open-wheel racing in a very competitive sports marketing environment. This puts the League and its stakeholders in the best position they have ever been in to sell the Indy Racing League." Additional races could be added to the 2001 schedule before the end of this year, George said. Discussions continue with several venues. "We have an important stake in the Disney track and in Walt Disney World, and we continue to discuss with them dates for the future," George said. "We were not able to mutually agree on a date for 2001, but we hope to resume racing at that excellent venue someday." George also noted that discussions are continuing with both Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway for 2001, but no agreements have been reached.

<pre> The 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. 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. 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 Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky. (1.5 miles) ESPN, 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas (1.5 miles) ABC, TBA * -- Night race

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony George