IRL: IRL 2004 schedule announced

IRL Indycar Series schedule set for 16 races in 2004. All events to be broadcast live on ABC/ESPN; Three night races on schedule. SPARTA, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 16, 2003 -- Indy Racing League officials announced a 16-race schedule for the 2004 ...

IRL Indycar Series schedule set for 16 races in 2004.

All events to be broadcast live on ABC/ESPN; Three night races on schedule.

SPARTA, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 16, 2003 -- Indy Racing League officials announced a 16-race schedule for the 2004 season, highlighted by the 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and a new event at The Milwaukee Mile.

The 2004 season marks the ninth year of competition for the IRL IndyCarTM 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 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 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.

"Entering our ninth season in 2004, the IRL IndyCar Series schedule continues to evolve, as it offers one of the most competitive motorsports environments in the world," said Ken Ungar, senior vice president of business affairs for the Indy Racing League. "We appreciate the input of our teams and thank the tracks for their efforts to grow the IndyCar Series."

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.

Though most of the events remain near their traditional dates, there have been a few date changes.

The Milwaukee Mile will play host to its first IndyCar Series race on July 25, while the Pikes Peak event has been moved from June to Aug. 22. The IndyCar Series' lone date outside of the United States, the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi, will be announced in the near future.

For the first time in series history, there will be two consecutive night races, with the Bombardier 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway taking place back-to-back on June 12 and June 26, respectively. The other night race, the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway, is scheduled for July 17.

<pre> Date Track Event Television Feb. 29 Homestead-Miami Speedway Toyota Indy 300 ESPN March 21 Phoenix International Raceway TBA ABC TBA Twin Ring Motegi Indy Japan 300 ESPN2 May 30 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race ABC June 12* Texas Motor Speedway Bombardier 500 ESPN June 26* Richmond International Raceway SunTrust Indy Challenge ESPN2 July 4 Kansas Speedway TBA ABC July 17* Nashville Superspeedway Firestone Indy 200 ESPN July 25 The Milwaukee Mile TBA ABC Aug. 1 Michigan International Speedway Firestone Indy 400 ABC Aug. 15 Kentucky Speedway Belterra Casino Indy 300 ABC Aug. 22 Pikes Peak International Raceway Honda Indy 225 ABC Aug. 29 Nazareth Speedway Firestone Indy 225 ABC Sept. 12 Chicagoland Speedway Delphi Indy 300 ABC Oct. 3 California Speedway Toyota Indy 400 ESPN Oct. 17 Texas Motor Speedway Chevy 500 ABC

* -- night race

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