IRL: 2004 schedule announced

IndyCar Series Japan date set for April 17 INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 17, 2003 -- The second IndyCar Series event at the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan will be held Saturday, April 17, 2004, Indy Racing League officials announced Sept....

IndyCar Series Japan date set for April 17

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 17, 2003 -- The second IndyCar Series event at the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan will be held Saturday, April 17, 2004, Indy Racing League officials announced Sept. 17.

The Indy Japan 300, the final race before the 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, will start at 12:30 p.m. (Japan time) April 17 and be broadcast live in the United States on ESPN2 at 11:30 p.m. (EDT) Friday, April 16.

"We look forward to our return to Twin Ring Motegi, where we were so warmly received at our inaugural event," said Ken Ungar, senior vice president of business affairs for the IRL. "Japan offers the IndyCar Series the opportunity to showcase our exciting product in front of an enthusiastic audience, while strengthening our ties with companies who are involved with the league and its drivers and teams."

Scott Sharp won the first IndyCar Series event at Twin Ring Motegi on April 13, 2003. The 2004 schedule of events at Japan will be similar to 2003, with practice taking place on Thursday, April 15, MBNA Pole Qualifying on Friday, April 16 and the race on Saturday, April 17.

In addition to Japan, there are 15 other races during the 2004 season, the ninth year of competition for the IRL IndyCar Series. The 16-race schedule, featuring all ovals, equals the 2003 season for the largest number of events on an IRL IndyCar Series season schedule.

All 16 events will be broadcast live on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, including six consecutive ABC telecasts from July 25 to Sept. 12. All races also will be broadcast by the IMS Radio Network.

For the third consecutive year, Homestead-Miami Speedway will play host to the season opener, the Toyota Indy 300, with ESPN televising the event scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 29. The season will end with an ABC-televised race, the Chevy 500 on Sunday, Oct. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway. TMS has played host to the IRL season finale since 1999.

The 88th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 30 and will be broadcast for the 40th consecutive year by ABC. The relationship is the second-longest running partnership by a sporting event and a network.

The Milwaukee Mile will play host to its first IndyCar Series race on July 25, 2004.

Tickets for all IndyCar Series events can be purchased through links at www.indyracing.com.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp