The Indy Racing League has been included amongst the nominations for the 'professional sports league of the year' title at the second annual Sports Business Awards presented by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.

Emphasising the stature of the IRL's inclusion comes in the form of its rivals for the crown, with the grandees of US sport - the National Basketball Association, National Football League and the National Hockey League - all also nominated.

"2008 was a milestone year for the Indy Racing League," IRL commercial division president Terry Angstadt commented, "We started the season with the unification of open-wheel racing, which led to tremendous success stories on and off the track, and then we witnessed other milestone events such as Graham Rahal becoming the youngest race winner in history and Danica Patrick becoming the first female winner in history.

"Now it's an honour to be nominated for this award. We hope to continue to build on last year's momentum as we move forward in 2009 and beyond."

The Sports Business Awards will honour winners in 14 categories, and the winners will be announced on 28 May at the New York Marriott Marquis.

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