The IndyCar Series has received a shot in the arm ahead of its 2008 campaign, as ESPN has agreed to continue its long-standing relationship with the open-wheel championship by providing television coverage once again.

This means the entire 16-race IndyCar Series season - including the 92nd running of the iconic Indianapolis 500 - will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. The 2008 schedule, ESPN's 13th as the IndyCar Series television partner, includes seven events each on ESPN2 and ABC and two on ESPN. The networks will also cover Indy 500 qualifying on 10-11 and 17-18 May.

"ABC and ESPN have played a significant role in the advancement of the IndyCar Series," commented Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. "With innovations such as side-by-side and Sportvision, our broadcasts offer viewers a unique motorsport experience."

The 2008 campaign will get into gear under the lights on 29 March at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, with a primetime telecast on ESPN2 at 8pm ET. The season will wind down at Chicagoland Speedway on 7 September at 3:30pm on ABC. The Indianapolis 500 will air on 25 May at noon on ABC, which will televise the race for the 44th year.

The ESPN alliance dates back to the series' inaugural 1996 event. ABC's first telecast of the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 set the tone for a network-sports property relationship that is the second-longest in sport. Only CBS and The Masters have been together longer.

"We look forward to another exciting season of IndyCar Series racing on our networks," remarked John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice-president, programming and acquisitions. "The series showed ratings growth in 2007, and we feel the personalities of the drivers and the close, competitive racing are resonating with our viewers."

The 16-race IndyCar Series calendar is one of the most diverse in the motor racing world, with eleven oval outings, three on permanent road courses and two on temporary street circuits.


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